This approximately 50-acre park is situated near the eastern edge of the city and straddles opposite shores of the Tanghe River along an almost three-quarter mile corridor. The eastern shore of the river features the park’s namesake element, a 1640 foot-long, red, fiberglass bench, designed by Turenscape in 2005. The design team, led by Kongjian Yu, Ling Shihong, and Chen Chen, remediated the site, which was a deserted garbage dump, with minimal intervention. In lieu of channelizing the river or establishing ornamental gardens, the team surgically introduced a sinuous ribbon that is purposefully choreographed around existing trees and shrubs, including locust, willow, and poplar.
The red-hued bench echoes natural forms while vividly contrasting with the colors of the river and surrounding vegetation. The ribbon rises to two feet and fluctuates in width, from nearly two feet to approximately five feet. Its level surface provides seating and includes irregularly placed apertures that host plantings and lighting; the ribbon is lit from within and glows at night. The curvilinear form is edged by a boardwalk that leads visitors along the river’s edge and through existing groves and swaths of native grasses. Four biomorphically-shaped pavilions, each named after a species of native grass, serve as focal elements while also providing shade. Strategically located, they also serve as gathering spaces and feature site interpretation.
East of the riverbank and the ribbon, providing access from the north and south is a tree-lined bicycle path. Occupying the space between the bike path and a former irrigation ditch is a parallel bench that extends the entire length of the park’s eastern section. The path follows the alignment of a former earthen road and an abandoned irrigation ditch. Beyond the northern terminus of the ribbon, paths lead to a tea house and to four rectilinear perennial flower gardens, planted blue, purple, yellow, and white, respectively. The project received the American Society of Landscape Architects’ General Design Honor Award in 2007.