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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Visitor Center in Kunshan, China by Miao Design Studio

 
December 24th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Miao Design Studio

Sitting at the west suburb of Kunshan, a booming industrial city, the Lake Yangcheng Park of 42.5 hectares is the largest public green space on the lake shore, visited heavily by central-city residents during the week ends. The linear building site lies between the main public parking lot and a curved boardwalk which leads people to the waterfront and other attractions.

Wood deck along the north side of the building, Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

  • Architects: Miao Design Studio (Pu Miao)
  • Project: Visitor Center
  • Location: Kunshan, China
  • Project Period: 2009-2012
  • Floor Area: 844 square meters
  • Client : Kunshan City Construction, Investment and Development Co., Ltd.
  • Designer: Architecture: Miao Design Studio (Design Architect), Pu Miao; Hanjia Design Group, Shanghai (Architect of Record), Jiang Ninqing
  • Structure: Shanghai Yuangui Structural Design Inc., Zhang Yewei, Liu Xiao
  • Engineering: Hanjia Design Group, Mu Lixin, Yu Yang, Wu Qiuyan
  • Software used: Autocad

The east part of the south elevation, as seen from the parking, the middle doorway is to the left., Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

By its nature, a visitor center is the front door of a place. But a door presumes the existence of a wall. Considering the linear shape of the site, I feel that it is appropriate to make the building a “wall.” Indeed, people getting out of their cars will see a curved “wall,” 99 meters long and 7.75 meters high, along the entire north side of the parking lot, Three doorways of varied sizes are punched out from the “wall,” opening up passages into the Park. Being accentuated by the surrounding “wall,” the sceneries revealed in the openings appear particularly enticing, But one will soon find that this is not a simple solid wall.

The west part of the south elevation, as seen from the parking, the middle doorway is to the right., Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

A layer of wood trellises runs parallel to an inner concrete wall. The trellises and future climbing plants make the “wall” appear light and ever-changing. At the west end, the trellis layer deviates from the concrete wall and forms a unique gesture, nodding to the nearby lake shore which is invisible from the parking lot.

Looking north through the west doorway, Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

The big surprise comes when people enter the doorways. Looking east and west, they will find that the “wall” in fact contains complex spaces between its two concrete exterior shells. Because few solid crossing partitions exist in the building, one can see various spaces, bright and dim, indoor and outdoor, high and low, orthogonal and diagonal, juxtaposed along the longitudinal direction of the cavity. For example, the sunken court under the ramp recalls a shadowy valley studded with trees.

Looking east from the middle doorway, Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

The first floor provides an exhibition space for tourist orientation and several retail shops. A ramp leads visitors to a roof court which connects to a café and another shop. The café has its own roof deck that enjoys the best view of the Lake. The pairing of indoor and outdoor spaces to serve a function is one of the fundamental characteristics of Chinese traditional space.

Visitors passing through the “wall” will find a quiet wood deck connecting the back of the building and the existing boardwalk. Under the shades of dense trees, arriving and leaving tourists can get beers from the nearby shop and enjoy them here.

The middle roof court entered from the ramp, Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

Inside the Café (to be finished), with a lighting well to the right, Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

Look north from the interior of the Café (to be finished), Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

The ramp, Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

From the middle roof court looking east, Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

From the Shop at the east end of the second floor looking west, Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

The space between the trellises and the concrete wall, Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

The framing behind the unique west end of the trellis wall, Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

Looking north through the east doorway, Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

Looking through the middle doorway from the north side of the building, Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

West elevation of the building opens itself toward the Lake, Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

From the Café (to be finished) looking east toward the middle roof court and the ramp, Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

West end of the trellis wall in the south elevation, Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

Image Courtesy © Miao Design Studio

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Categories: Autocad, Visitor Center

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