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.
Seashore Library in Nandaihe, China by Vector Architects
June 7th, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Vector Architects
The library is located along the seashore of China Bohai Bay. The design key point is focused on exploring the co-existing relationship of the space boundary, the movement of human body, the shifting light ambience, the air ventilating through and the ocean view.
The design began with section. The library houses a reading area, a meditation space, activity room, a drinking bar and a resting area. According to each space, we establish distinctive relationship between space and the ocean; define how light and wind enters into each room.
Ocean, an ever-changing character continues to alter from season to season, morning to night. It is like a drama play of nature. As if giving the stage to this character of ocean, we pile up seating platforms raised toward the back, so that everyone has an unblocking view to the stage. Toward the sea, the building is enclosed by a series of operable glass walls at ground level. When the weather is nice, the walls are open to the sea directly connecting inside and outside. On top of these pivot walls is a horizontal view window that goes across the library; it is the main framing of sea view. To avoid interruption from any structural component, all the roof loads are carried by the steel trusses running above the view window. On both sides of steel trusses, we infill hand-crafted glass block masonries into wall. The wall softens the hardness of steel trusses. Furthermore, the translucency of such material is sensitive to light. It transforms both natural and artificial light to inside and outside throughout different time of the day, smoothly changing the ambience of the building.
The half-arched roof opens toward the sea and implies the main subject of the space. Meanwhile, the curvature allows wide span running both north-south and east-west directions. Several 30cm diameter circular openings are inserted and array on the roofing structure. They can be open when the weather is allowed, and help to ventilate indoor air. During three seasons of the year – spring, summer and fall, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm every day, sunlight would stream through those narrow air passage ways and project light spots inside and meandering through space with time shift.
The meditation space is sitting aside from reading area. In contrast to the reading area that is bright, evenly distributed light, open and public, meditation space is rather dimmed, sharp of light and shadows, enclosed and private. There are two slim openings, 30cm wide, on east and west side of the room. One is horizontal and one in vertical; one captures the light of sunrise and the other grasps the sunset illumination. In this room, a drastic roof curved pushes the ceiling down low. Above this curve, it creates a low terrace to the roof top. At this area, people hear the sound of ocean, though the vision is out of reach.
Activity room is a fairly isolated space. Due to potential event and sound, it is being separated from reading area with an outdoor platform in between. The light well on the roof facing east and the clear story at west collect lights throughout the day from different directions. Warm and cold light overlap and tint the space simultaneously.
If we slice through the building along the north-south long axis, we can see how each space elaborates itself with ocean distinctively. And the movement and memory of human body together choreograph series of experience.
Gong Dong CV
Gong Dong received Bachelor & Master of Architecture from Tsinghua University, followed by a diploma at University of Illinois where he received the Master of Architecture. He also had an exchange experience at Technical University of Munich. During his study in America, Gong Dong received several awards including Excellence Award from Steedman Fellowship International Architectural Design Competition, 2000; First Prize from American Institute of Architects Chicago Chapter’s Student Design Competition,2001 and Excellence Award from Malama Learning Centre International Architecture Design Cmpetition,2002. Prior to establishing his own practice he worked for Soloman Cordwell Buenz & Associates in Chicago, then at Richard Meier & Partners and Steven Holl Architects in New York.
In 2008, Gong Dong founded Vector Architects and has become one of the most active young architects in China.
Vector Architects was founded in 2008, Beijing. During seven years practice, we have always believed that design needs to confront problems, and it should be the attitude an architect ought to possess. Instead of enforcing architect’s self-conscious or following icons and superficial forms, a good design has to respect the existing environment with support of logic and reasons. The contemporary Chinese design industry today is rather blundering that the rapid production and pursuit of landmark in height, size and form have become the main stream. Architects no longer devote their effort for the fundamental and substantial truth of architecture. In this environment, the persistence of confronting problems remains essential and crucial.
With this attitude, the relationship between architecture and living, place and experience, and tectonic in architecture become our core directions in architecture design.
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