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Art Through Time: A Global View

The Natural World Art: The Red Ribbon

» Turenscape with the Graduate School of Landscape Architecture, Peking University. Kongjian Yu (Chinese, b. 1963) (principal designer)

The Red Ribbon

The Red Ribbon
Artist / Origin: Turenscape with the Graduate School of Landscape Architecture, Peking University. Kongjian Yu (Chinese, b. 1963) (principal designer)
Region: East Asia
Date: Designed July 2005–May 2006. Completed July 2006
Period: 1900 CE – 2010 CE
Material: Fiber Steel
Medium: Architecture and Planning
Dimensions: L: 1, 640 ft. (500 m.), H: 23 ½ in. (60 cm.), W: 11 ¾–59 in. (30-150 cm.)
Location: Tanghe River Park, Qinhuangdao City, Hebei Province, China
Credit: Courtesy of the designer

In the summer of 2005, the Landscape Bureau of Qinhuangdao City in Hebei Province, China, commissioned the Beijing design firm Turenscape to transform an overgrown, garbage-laden piece of land along the Tanghe River into an urban oasis.

Like other cities in China, Qinhuangdao is experiencing fast growth and its burgeoning community needed space for recreation. The goal of Turenscape and its founder/president Kongjian Yu was to find a way to meet those demands while at the same time preserving the natural environment and creating a space with a unique design. The Red Ribbon was the solution.

A simple concept with extraordinary impact, The Red Ribbon is a 1,640-foot-long structure of fiber steel that wends its way along the Tanghe’s curving riverbank. Together with the boardwalk that runs beside it, The Red Ribbon offers a place where city dwellers can meet, exercise, relax, or learn about the environment. At the same time, in keeping with Turenscape’s philosophy of minimum intervention, it interferes as little as possible in the ecology of the local landscape.

As part of the river corridor restoration project, old irrigation structures that might prove dangerous to visitors were removed from the area and other waste was cleaned up. However, the diverse, naturally growing vegetation at the site was left largely alone, enhanced only by the planting of four perennial flower gardens. Lit from within, The Red Ribbon glows at night, but even during the day, its vivid color offers a striking complement to its lush green surroundings. Plant-filled holes along its length help bridge the gap between natural life forms and modern art. With the Red Ribbon project and others like it in China and around the world, Kongjian Yu hopes to express the changing relationship between people and the landscape in a way that is both ecologically responsible and visually enticing.

Additional Resources

Corner, James, ed. Recovering Landscape: Essays in Contemporary Landscape Theory. Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press, 2009.

Forman, Richard T.T. Urban Regions: Ecology and Planning beyond the City.Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 2008.

Forman, Richard T.T., and Edward O. Wilson. Land Mosaics: The Ecology of Landscapes and Regions. Cambridge, UK: University of Cambridge Press, 1995.

Johnson, Bart, Kristina Hill, and Robert Melnick. Ecology and Design. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2002.

Yu, Kongjian, and Mary Padua. The Art of Survival: Recovering Landscape Architecture. Victoria, Australia: The Images Publishing Group, 2006.

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