Cheng Gong

Cheng Gong

Los Angeles, CA, US





The wetlands west of Salt Lake City surrounding the Great Salt Lake are internationally important in providing habitat used by eco-systems. Past approaches of wetland protection and water quality management include providing assessment and monitoring; adopting framework; revising existing water quality standards and outlining comprehensive salt lake water quality management strategy.
However this highly valued resource is currently at risk from encroaching urban development  to provide for the growing population within the watershed.  Block 69&70 propose a new discussion of how design can bridge the wetlands protection awareness with social/cultural/spatial/ activities.
Inspired by the lake effect, ideas of monitoring water quality as well as “urban working land” are 3 dimensionally translated into urban landscape that not only programmatically used by the public but also aiming to form an interactive eco-educational hub to enhance the individual awareness of water protection.
Additionally, as a geographic response to SLC’s basin landform in a micro scale, the waved steps that subdividing the public space generate a new “urban basin” that surrounded by the context(mountains), which brings in new possibilities of scenarios. Communication, culture, education and leisure provide a novel connecting tissue between Block 69&70.

Design Scenarios:
1, CLIMATE INTERACTION (benefiting Great Salt Lake effect)
The Great Salt Lake effect is a detectable influence on the local climate and weather around the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The lake never freezes and can warm rapidly which allows lake-effect precipitation and snowstorms brings major socio-economic impacts to the macro urban context.
In parallel with “Great Salt Lake” vs. “SLC” , the notion of “water” vs. “block 69&70 ” is conceived not only as a programmatic public hub that collecting circulation flows but also as an urban micro barometer that recalls attention from the public to  the climate changes.


2, WAVED VALLEY IN BETWEEN (micro basin)
Located within the Great Basin and surrounded by Farnsworth Peak, Grandview Peak, Twin Peaks, etc. SLC is bred with intimate relationship with mountains and the lake. The city acts as an artificial fabric that connects peaks, canyons and valleys.
Parallel with the macro understanding of “mountains” vs. “SLC”, micro notion of “block 69&70” vs. “urban valley” interprets the city’s DNA with a reversed section outline. If SLC is the tissue between the nature, then the “waved urban valley” is the link between blocks that stimulates public and cultural events.

3, STREET as DANCING STAGE (cultural promotion strategy)
Besides being implanted with leisure steps, public space is proposed as the incubator of dancing culture. Based on the fact that 3 miles east of downtown the University of Utah Department of Modern Dance which constantly top ranked in the country produces outstanding dancing students, street stages are used as the off-campus training/rehearsing/career-prep hubs. At the same time, professional dancers from the cultural context of the site(Home of Ballet West, theatres) can also be absorbed out to the street. Communication and interaction between students, pro-dancers and the public naturally promote the cultural atmosphere of SLC. Students gain stage experiences through the exposure and the public art for people happens both indoor(theatre) and outdoor(street).


4, WORKING WETLAND (urban eco-lab + public awareness)
Bringing in the idea of ”working lands assessment model” within Block 69&70, the urban working lands that distributed with greens are designed as the eco-laboratory. The “urban agricultural lands” is realized through individual’s participation of “customized farming wetlands”.

5, WATER RECYCLING (sustainable energy solution)
Landscape water features reflects multiple meanings including mirrors of Salt Lake and public “water plaza”. Additionally, consideration of water cycling system is aiming to generate a green loop for both eco-system and infrastructure.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, US
My Role: design team member
Additional Credits: Jinming Feng