In regions with widespread water systems, water bodies are not only a guarantee of resource supplies, but also have the potential to provide public space for social cohesion and become a regional identity. The design region Freising Moos in Germany and the reference Mayang county in Hunan province, China both belong to this type of area. Instead of broad water surface, the extensive linear water network is the most obvious common ground of them. However, the perception and experience of water in daily life are quite different in these two regions.
The daily life in the remote county Mayang is so dependent on the waterside. You can see families swimming in the river, or having barbecue on the islet in the middle, children playing with ladle and women washing vegetable on the waterside and so on. The possibility of getting access to the water is everywhere, so are the social interactions.
By comparison, residents in Freising seem to have a relatively weaker awareness of the abundant streams and creeks apart from the Isar River, which is mainly resulted from a much lower level of accessibility. The most typical scene along the creeks is covered with thick vegetated barriers. In this case, it would be very meaningful to extend Mayang’s experience to the Freising waterside social life.
In Mayang, a town with colorful social life by the water, I discovered many inspiring and applicable ways of interacting with linear water and summarized them as the landscape of “Crossing the Water”. The „crossing“ here doesn‘t mean going from one side to the other, which is only for transportation purpose, but from the both sides of land to the water. The essential part is actually process in-between, the crossing process in the middle of water. Because it provides the opportunity for the interchange of people from both sides and also enjoyment of the water.
Three types of “crossing” landscape in Mayang were chosen and abstracted as the origin models: “safeguard block”, “adventurous opening” and “sheltering landmark”. To further apply them in Freising, several patterns are developed from each model. In each pattern, except for the “crossing” structure itself, the formation of each landscape is largely based on the surrounding elements, e.g. vegetation, residence, footpath and water form.
Three models, eight patterns and their respective essential elements together form the Cosmopolitan Language of “Crossing the Water” landscape.
Applying the ‘‘crossing’’ landscape is usually only tiny transformation, so the final resulted plan consists of many attractive and cohesive points among the vast water network, representing the places that can really encourage people to meet and have fun.