Yifang Art Center / YIHE Landscape Architecture
Text description provided by the architects. The project is located in a new district of Dazhulin north of downtown Chongqing. When we first visited the site, it had an unfinished concrete structure from previous developments. Our client Sunac stepped in and had the vision to develop Dazhulin as a new TOD project. Surrounded by future mixed-use developments, our goal is to reuse and redesign the abandoned concrete structure as a new community core. It will serve residents and visitors nearby in everyday use and host events for special occasions. This new community center has four levels, including an indoor pool, gymnasium, various community recreation rooms, a sky bar and an art gallery. Stairs and elevators are used for movement between levels.
Idea. The idea was to design the main concrete deck as an “outer gallery”. The 30×190 meter concrete apron was divided by walls into a series of “exhibition rooms”. The experience of the car park at the entrance to the building is framed by browsing the “rooms” like visiting an art gallery. Each room has an exhibition function. A cascading waterfall, a translucent elevator, a wave sculpture will be the focal point of each room.
The design borrowed from the traditional Chinese garden “denial and reward”, “hidden and revealed”. The idea of “denial and reward” is used to enrich the passing experience by creating a feeling of closure and openness. The height of the walls forms the feeling of “hidden” from the exterior street. The “revealed” effect occurs in the open section whose translucent, aquatic courtyard can be seen from the outside.
As visitors pass through the entrance gate, the reception hall (two superimposed rectangular structures) is revealed. The lobby functions as a first closed “denial” at the starting point of the spatial sequence, giving visitors a moment to slow down while noticing the sounds of water in the following space. After passing through the hall, visitors enter a series of gardens. The journey with the focused exposure of each piece, the interesting views and the feeling of being enclosed and open slowly reveal themselves as rewarding surprises before a community center arrives.
See and be seen. The combination of sight and movement encourages visitors to explore and interact with the landscape and other visitors. The unexpected walkway is carefully placed to create additional intrigue or even momentary loss for visitors. The design of the walkway and walls allows visitors to suddenly appear in every room. This sudden sensation triggers another interesting interaction of sight in space. The entrance to the building, the landscape elements and the visitors became the views taken from a distance in every room.
Light and shadow interaction. The interplay of light and shadows generated by the walls, the canopy walkway, the reflection of the ripples of the water and the canopy of trees during the day creates a rich sense of time. The authentic color and texture of the stone warm-up space balances out with the green of the vegetation, the gray of the carving of the river waves, the white of the fence, and the blue of the sky.
Event space. The gardens not only provide daily use and passing interests also function as an event space. The stage can be set up with a white fence backdrop with a canopy walkway as the main seating area for the audience. Various events like outdoor films, small musical performances, parades take place in the courtyard adjacent to the entrance of the building. The Yifang Art Center will serve as a hub for the surrounding neighborhoods for long-term social support, group activities and art appreciation.