The Tai Tam Dam Celebrated 100 years of service on February 2, 2018. Dragon's Link II will take us forward for the next 100 years.
A perspective view showing the proposed green pedestrian pathway on the existing dam. Permeable grass pavers with planters and trees would replace the existing asphalt road surface to create a shady place to walk and enjoy views of Tai Tam.
The new bridge is designed to have a minimal visual presence inside the Tai Tam Country Park while formally taking cues from the rolling hills on Hong Kong Island.
Dragon’s Link II – September 18, 2017
In November of 2016 M CO Design proposed a new bridge link for the historic Tai Tam Dam and Reservoir. The design explored a unique solution to the on-going traffic congestion and public safety issues caused by the existing narrow roadway over the 100 year old structure. While it generated a lot of good conversation, feedback and global media coverage, it also revealed some areas of concern from the City and members of the public related to drinking water quality, historic monument preservation and building inside a Country Park.
One thing was abundantly clear after collecting all of the comments and feedback from the community: a majority of people want a new link at the reservoir to solve the full set of problems posed by the bottleneck at the dam. It is our feeling that the proposal now under consideration (the addition of traffic signals) is a decent short term measure that solves part of the problems currently happening at the site – but longer term vision could do more for the city of Hong Kong and the next 100 years.
Taking these concerns into account we are proposing a new bridge link design that addresses the same traffic flow problems, pedestrian safety issues and creates new hiking trail connections. It also endeavors to protect drinking water quality, the surrounding Country Park environment and the historic nature of the dam. In addition, the new design goes a step further than the first; the creation of a valuable new green park space amenity for the community.
The new link would be constructed to the east of the dam over the gorge and would be roughly half the length of the original proposal – making it easier and less costly to construct. This also removes it visually from the space inside the reservoir in order to respect the natural beauty of the park. Doing this offers a rare opportunity to remove all vehicular traffic from the dam and to convert it to a purely pedestrian pathway fully integrating it into the rest of the Heritage Trail and the other 21 water control sites around the reservoir. This we feel will further preserve the site for the next 100 years while offering a beautiful new way to experience the Tai Tam Country Park.
Two support points suspend the new bridge over the gorge and are located away from the deepest retaining areas of the dam. Careful attention would be given the ensure that the residents of the Tai Tuk Village would not be disrupted by the new link.
The new bridge would be illuminated at night with energy efficient lighting systems for safe driving and to enhance the visual effect of the structural for form and architecture. Careful attention would be paid to preventing light pollution.
A juxtaposition of old and new.
The new bridge would be constructed in a light and curving alignment to compliment the solid form of the historic dam while not compromising the experience of hiking below the dam to the spillway. A new light weight steel and glass observation platform at the center of the dam would give hikers a chance to stop and take in the views to the ocean.
At three points along the existing dam light weight steel and glass viewing platforms would be cantilevered from the old stone structure. They are elevated over the top of the existing dam roadway walls to protect the historic structure from alteration and to offer a higher vantage point for better viewing of the scenery.
A new stair connection down to the Tai Tam Tuk Village will offer spots to pause and overlook the landscape at both the north and south ends of the bridge, making the hike down to the dam spillway safer and easier to navigate.
The missing link between the Heritage Trail and the Hong Trail is complete!
Since the Heritage Trail was created in 2009 to provide hiking access to the other 20 water control structures around the Tai Tam Reservoir, the dam was the only one not part of the experience. The narrow road width and heavy traffic volume makes it unsafe to walk across - although some still do and pedestrian injuries are not uncommon. Our proposal gives the dam a new life as it hits the 100 year anniversary of its completion - green arbor of shade trees and planting to walk through, pause for a seat and enjoy the views of the park.
Existing site conditions and the proposed new green corridor.
There are a myriad of problems that exist today at the dam. Dragon's Link hopes to solve these and create a valuable new public amenity in the process that all of Hong Kong can enjoy.