The Sunshine Academy is surrounded by scenic landscape. The Luan River flows along the foot of the Yanshan mountains Range, where the Jinshanling Great Wall is forming one of the most dangerous sections of the Great Wall. The Sunshine Academy uses this rich natural setting to form a hotel whose architecture focuses on framing selected views of both river and surrounding mountain ranges. Those outward views are alternated with inward orientated courtyards, forming an overall calm and contemplative atmosphere. The architectural expression takes advantage of the traditional building methods and transforms them into a more modern, curved design approach. The result is a Zen like space reminding of the Chinese academies of old, where the courtyards formed offered a sense of meaning and depth.
Courtyard #7 at the Drum Tower is the renovation of our own office on Beijing’s historic central axis. Located right next to the drum tower and the bell tower – Beijing’s highest historical landmark with over 600 years of history – the project was adopted from a traditional courtyard house typology (Hutong) typical for this part of Beijing’s old town. The design target was to build a timeless workshop and at the same time embracing the surrounding cultural context. Originally, individual rooms were grouped around a small open courtyard. The main room is located in the north, one smaller room each on the west and east side of the courtyard, as well as the entrance and secondary rooms in the southern part of the courtyard. The careful renovation of this building preserves the original architectural expression; traditional handicraft details have been uncovered and restored. Inserting a glass box into the northern, T-shaped part of the inner courtyard transformed the independent main room and the two lateral rooms into one connected working area. The additional space in the covered area of the courtyard serves as a reception and meeting area. A bookcase as a staircase in the northeastern wing of the T-shaped glass box allows access to the roof terrace on the glass box, where the views of the two ancient towers are introduced into the courtyard. The surrounding roofs were supplemented by glass showcases for models and wooden decks for seating. The total construction costs for the project were controlled very efficiently and remained within a budget of 200,000 RMB (25,000 EUR), including MEP and furniture. The original layout, individual rooms surrounding a single courtyard, was transformed into a multi-layered space that follows its own narrative sequence. The office renovation links the traditional Chinese lifestyle with a modern vision of the space.
We designed a building that shows all its different functions and elements. We do that by creating three elements, which are carved out of the same stone: the archive block, the exhibition volume on the opposite corner and the connecting base. Each of those elements can be read individually, but only together do they form the entire archive museum. The more public areas of the exhibitions form an interface to the city, whilst the most enclosed areas of the archives are set back, furthest away from the streets, protected by the different layers of the building. The archive block in the north-eastern corner of the site houses the main part of the archives, as well as the offices. A massive block allows for an efficient floorplan, but also evokes the idea of a safe, protected place for the historical documents. On the opening side of the site, facing towards the south and the park, we situate the entrance to the exhibition volume. It is the most public area that creates a strong interface towards the city. To accentuate the entrance, we modulate the building to form a grand opening, that is equal parts guidance and protection from the weather for the visitors. This gate also divides the volume into its two parts, which serve as equal entrances to the two exhibition areas. They are connected on the inside through a common temporary exhibition space. The third element of the museum structure is the base. It houses further space for storage and exhibition, but also some special functions, as the educational facilities, restaurant, etc. Its general shape is a reaction to the site condition: A long, slowly rising, flight of stairs that orientates towards the park and governmental buildings in the west. Its core is a plaza that forms a center, and distinctive outside space, usable by the special functions. And lastly the northern end opens up to allow a framed view at the mountain ranges in the distance.
The task was to design an Ocean Science Museum in combination with a new waterfront city district for a new urban development in the north of Qingdao. A landscape park forms the center of the new quarter. Bastion-like plazas open up views of the lake and the outlaying rocky coast. An abstract landscape and terraces lead from the promenade to the museum. As a floating, artificial volume the museum touches the ground just lightly, as if the landscape would pass under the building and continue. The reflective surface of the building creates an incredible, ephemeral appearance, connecting the three elements of earth, water and sky. The building consists of independent functional areas for event, research and management, that togehter form the base on which the exhibition area rests upon. Between these two massive blocks the lobby opens up, as part and extension of the landscape. From there open staircases lead to the exhibition platforms. The sequence of thematically related plateau allows a personalized tour of the exhibition. The polished metal surface of the exhibition area reflects the clouds in the sky, that light reflections from the water basin and the people on the entrance plaza. The building reflects its surroundings, thus creating changing impressions of the museum. A beautiful image of how nature and science complement each other.
The ZhangJiaGang Church design reflects on classic themes of European church architecture to pay homage to its architectural roots. East-West orientation, outward shape and floorplan follow tried and tested concepts. How this shape is constituted however reveals its modernity: a series of metal panels are erected vertically, each 2cm thick and with a 18cm gap between them. Through this the traditional outside shape is formed, whilst on the inside the metal gives way to harmonious curves that follow a basilica concept, but with a modern interpretation. The layered construction of the skin of the building has a central effect: the appearance of the building changes with the different angles it can be viewed from. With most of the points the building seems to close up, but when viewed directly – for example when inside and looking up towards the skies – it opens up and lets the eye see straight through. The result on the inside is also a closed shape, accentuating the community when looking forward, and an open shape, connecting to the skies above when looking up. Further detailing the metal blades alternates the thickness of the outer wall, resulting in a changing pattern that hints at the inside when seen from outside and vice versa. Around this statement piece a ring of serving functions is carved into the surrounding hill, creating space for community functions, whilst at the same time sheltering the inner basilica from street noise. The northern buildings will consist of prayer rooms and counselling spaces, whilst to the south there will be a cafeteria, library, museum and a smaller church. These buildings form an archaic contrast to the artistic church itself.
Jining, the birthplace of Confucius in east China‘s Shandong Province, is building up a new city center about six kilometers south of the historic old town. A stadium and numerous office buildings for companies and authorities have been already completed. The Jining City Culture Center, on the shores of the Taibai Lake, will further stimulate the development of new district. Based on our masterplan proposal, we will plan the Folk Arts Center, while architects from China will plan the the City Library (Jingtang He), from the Japan the Art Museum (Ryue Nishizawa) and from Italy the Culture Museum (Mario Botta). The master plan for the 53.5 hectare site, which provides a gross floor area of 385.00 m² building, suggests a clear structure: The Cultural buildings in the west and the commercial buildings in the east are connected by a raised platform that allows views of the nearby lake from this higher point of view.
The Mass Art Center will be an integral part of the new Jining City Culture Center. As opposed to its neighboring buildings – art gallery, museum and library – it will host a variety of functions. People arrive at the building from the north-eastern corner, which orientates to a grand public plaza. An opposite situation is found towards the west, where a hill descends towards Taibai lake.
Reacting to the specific program, the concept aims to create a dialogue between three blocks and a spiraling common space that wraps itself around them. Inside the three blocks are the three main functions: Theatre, administration and education. The common space has a multitude of tasks: It forms the access to the other departments, but is also a meeting point in a more indirect sense: Exhibitions etc. form the programmatic link between the solid blocks. The new Mass Art Center is a building that represents different functions coming together. Its series of courtyards are a continuation of the culture center’s masterplan, and form a fluent connection between the plaza, the center of the building and the park in the west.
The building serves as a strong cornerstone of the new culture center. The core concept of the building is to have a public space that wraps itself around the closed archives in the center of the building. The characteristic long flight of stairs on the west façade provides space for reading areas and leads the visitor to the top floor. Here, on top of the “book mountain”, the main reading space, lounge and media center are located. They are furthest removed from the more cosmopolitan ground floor, and offer a spectacular view over Taibai lake. The library reveals its inner functions through the façade: Large natural stone walls shelter the books behind them, as opposed to the open staircase which cuts into the massive volume. Further openings towards the public space and into the landscape offer access to children’s library and delivery. The interior uses the same material as the outside, with light penetrating through opening in the individual layers of the building, creating a steady increase in natural light as a visitor ascends to the top.
Tianjin has many smaller park-areas. This vast area offers the possibility to create something like a representative “garden-saloon” for the city. We therefore decided to keep a core area as parquet free of any buildings suitable to accomodate a variety of public events, for example expositions, festivals, concerts, public viewing of football matches or the Olympics. This parquet is accompanied by elevated terraces, on the northside covering the shopping area , in the south as boulevard lined by such outstanding cultural buildings as the library, the museums, the theatre etc. These buildings together with the impressive scenery of the congress- and entertainment complex on the north side make up for an adequate architectonical setting of the park area, supported in the second line by highrisers along the accompanying streets. On the eastside we have reset the building- front for the adjacent quarter to give the architectonical frame for the park a clear rectangular contour. Only in the west the new city garden remains wide open to emprace the city hall and grant free transition to the existing park-area and the boulevard leading to the stadium area.
The international exhibition center is located in the center of Qingdao, which close to Qingdao museum, Qingdao theatre, the first-stage and second-stage of Qingdao convention and exhibition center. By walking roads which connecting these important building node together, the prototype of large multifunctional center is created, and the foot traffics of north to south and east to west divide the space to different spaces and levels.
By playfully lifting the landscape on 4 corners of a rectangle and providing the possibility to cross the structure at the same time, this “lifted landscape” adds smoothly into the exiting topography. At the highest point 14 floors are hidden under the green roof. This roof garden is accessible to the public and at the same location of different uses, especially for the TV and broadcasting studios and their employees. Outdoor patios of restaurants, an amphitheater and film and recording venues form the basic framework. We understand the building as a walk-in sculpture. Cuts and atria allow the visitors an insight into the modern production of the media. The building combines various functions of the Shanxi TV and Broadcasting Centre under one roof as “houses within a house”. By making the roof accessible, an interface is created between the building, the landscape and the public space, thus reflecting the transparent relationship between media and public.
The community clubhouse of the Society Hill Residences is located at the heart of the residential area, near the main gate of the initial construction phase. Its cubic architecture of the is closed towards the street yet opens up towards the interior of the site, spanning the full height of the building and offering an unobstructed view of the plaza with its water cascade, behind which one can see the beginning of the Orchard Park. The multi-functional building offers a large variety of sports facilities: the indoor pool and gymnasium stacked on separate floors, fitness and aerobic rooms, and open air tennis courts on the roof. Next to this concentration of facilities, the plan includes a foyer for meetings and exhibitions, a lounge, administration offices, as well as numerous technical facilities. The facade is constructed from dark red, partially perforated Trespa panels distributed uniformly across all functional areas and allows for direct or filtered views of the outside.