October 3, 2022

Blog @ Munaf Sheikh

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crossboundaries turns an unused rooftop in shenzhen into an urban park

a fusion of infrastructure, architecture and urban landscape


a space for sports and leisure with shenzhen skyline as the backdrop. that’s what crossboundaries has created with its ‘sky park’ project. the international firm has transformed the roof of a metro terminal and maintenance facility in shenzhen, china, into a 1.2km public park with a diverse range of outdoor sports facilities. 


the project centers on the adaptation of a previously unused space in the city. hao dong, co-founder and partner at crossboundaries, explains,‘we were confronted with very exceptional circumstances. in china, infrastructure and traffic-related areas usually belong to the government and are not meant to be assigned any public use at all. this elongated rooftop presented itself with huge potential to be transformed into a usable park, accessible to a wider public and enriching the urban environment around it.’

images by bai yu, shenzhen luohan photography studio



‘a missing puzzle that plugs into the neighboring communities’


as a way to give back to the surrounding neighborhood, the park connects to buildings on its west side via a series of ‘skybridges’, leading in students and sports enthusiasts on a platform made for them – bringing educational institutions together with the local community in a unique combination of sports and recreational offers, tied together with the landscape.


‘our linear park is like a missing puzzle that plugs into the neighboring communities,’  continues binke lenhardt, the other co-founder of crossboundaries. ‘it creates the necessary physical and visual link between the urban tissue and the seaside and, along the way, aims to satisfy the schools’ and the public’s ever growing need for recreational spaces and room to breathe in a dense, urban environment.’

crossboundaries turns an unused rooftop in shenzhen into a 1.2km long urban park



the park’s spatial organization caters for three different user groups: the general public, neighboring schools and sports professionals. the space is filled with plots of sporting facilities, ranging from basketball courts and 5-a-side football pitches to professional level tennis courts with an audience stand.


a separate walkway for the general public interweaves through the length of the park, with parts elevated for a better view. people who are simply looking for a casual stroll can enjoy the atmosphere without crossing paths with the high energy activities within.

crossboundaries turns an unused rooftop in shenzhen into a 1.2km long urban park



all entrances and accesses to the rooftop park are located in direct vicinity to different functional areas, while preventing unnecessary interference, reachable via six access points in total.


vertical connections make the north and the south end directly accessible from the ground floor, inviting the general public up to the roof. school access happens exclusively via crossovers, leading directly onto the rooftop. they are attached to three secondary public entrances, in the form of elevators and staircases, for additional access from the street level.

crossboundaries turns an unused rooftop in shenzhen into a 1.2km long urban park



once inside the park, a signage system is implemented to help users navigate. the entire length of the area is divided in 100m increments, with signage polls located on each interval, presenting the current location as well as a map and description on where different functions are located. scattered around the park are also pieces of urban furniture with marking of distance and function to help better pinpoint one’s location.

crossboundaries turns an unused rooftop in shenzhen into a 1.2km long urban park

crossboundaries turns an unused rooftop in shenzhen into a 1.2km long urban park




project info:


name: shenzhen nanshan sky park
location: nanshan district, shenzhen, china

client: shenzhen nanshan district government investment project preliminary work office
landscape/architecture/interior/signage design: crossboundaries
partners in charge: binke lenhardt, dong hao
team design phase: alan chou, tan kebin, fang ruo, hao hongyi, gao yang, david eng, xiao ewan, wang xudong
team competition phase: tracey loontjens, gao yang, libny pacheco, aniruddha mukherjee, tan kebin, yu chloris, alan chou, dahyun kim, wang xudong
cooperative designer: beijing institute of architectural design (shenzhen), shenzhen boliyang landscape and architectural design co.,ltd.


roof total length: 1.2km
roof width: 50m – 70 m
total planned area: 77,000 sqm
design period: may 2016 -july 2017
construction period: march 2018 -june 2021
completion: july 2021


photography and video footage: bai yu, shenzhen luohan photography studio
video editing: crossboundaries

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