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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.

Civic Cultural Exhibition and Activity Center in Xinjiang, China by inFORM studio

September 23rd, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: inFORM studio

The city of Korla has announced that inFORM studio has been selected as the winner of an international design competition for the Civic Cultural Exhibition and Activity Center in Korla, China. It will be a symbol of a progressive future for the region of Xinjiang. The conceptual proposal embraces the master plan vision for an axial relationship of cultural buildings and a strong east/west pedestrian linkage through the site; it also responds intelligently to the climate, geological heritage, ecology, and contextual views and relationships.

Site perspective

  • Architects: inFORM studio
  • Project: Civic Cultural Exhibition
  • Location: Korla, Xinjiang, China
  • Total Project: 8,000 sq m
  • Client: City of Korla (Kuerle)
  • Technical design principal: Kenneth Van Tine
  • Marketing, managing principal: Gina Van Tine
  • Design principal: Michael Guthrie
  • Design director: Cory Lavigne, Robert Miller, Anna Haezebrouck, Jordan Whitted

North view final

Korla is in a unique location situated above the Taklamakan Desert and at the foothills of a mountain range on the other side of Lake Bosten. Ecological and geological extremes practically co-exist within Korla yielding a tremendous opportunity to exemplify both conditions as part of the project morphology. Water is important to the region in general despite the abundance within Lake Bosten itself. Special care is given to the utilization of water through rainwater capture, greywater recycling, stormwater retention, and its use within the geothermal system. The connection of the project to water is celebrated in its use within the landscaping with reflection pools, evaporative cooling pools, a lotus flower pond, and a series of synchronized water entertainment fountains.

Entry perspective

Climatically, the building responds morphologically to the many attributes that characterize the region including, dryness, large daily temperature fluctuations, prevalent sunshine, and consistent ground temperatures below the surface. The abundant sunshine is a tremendous asset to the reduction of energy through the proper use of daylighting. Additional energy will be saved by the use of trombe walls and a geothermal system bringing an earthy stability to the variable temperatures throughout the day. Providing a thick building skin with a perforated quality takes advantage of these conditions. The overall building form is reminiscent of the mountain strength that is so powerful within the region with a human-scale of a lotus flower pattern that is used as a strategy of panelizing the façade as well as perforating the exterior skin for daylighting. Views are primarily internal as the nature of exhibition demands, however, striking moments within the building provide grandiose views of both the canal and the mountains to the north.

West Elevation

Several opportunities exist to further reduce the use of energy within the building including natural ventilation. The cool air drawn in over the chilled pools will provide a stack affect in the tall spaces as the air is warmed towards the daylighting windows above. The overall reduction in energy required to facilitate mechanical operations provides opportunities of southern oriented building integrated photovoltaic panels to contribute more significantly to the percentage of energy production.
Clean water, clean air and an insightful respect for the regional ecology are some of the tangible benefits of this design for the Civic Cultural Exhibition and Activity Center. Moreover, the powerful architectural statement will become a symbol for this commitment to a sustainable future.

Overall site

inFORM studio is a Woman-owned, WBE certified, design based practice with three offices in Detroit, Michigan, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and New York City. Each office is fully integrated and collaborates with teams set for each project that span all three locations.

Formed in March 2000, Van Tine|Guthrie Studio of architecture quickly earned a reputation for the progressive work of the three principals, Michael L. Guthrie, Kenneth R. Van Tine, and Gina Van Tine. The firm has received continued peer recognition and community attention for design excellence in acquiring numerous state and local AIA Honor Awards, authoring the winning entry for the Bagley Street Pedestrian Bridge as part of the $120 million Michigan Department of Transportation Ambassador Gateway Project and in June of 2003, was selected as one of eight international finalists out of 1,557 entries to present at the Grand Egyptian Museum Competition Symposium in Cairo, Egypt. In 2004 the firm was invited to participate, as one of 30 firms from around the world, in the prestigious Canadian Museum of Human Rights competition and recently received an honorable mention in the world-wide competition for the Museum of Contemporary Art and Planning Exhibition in Shenzhen, China. In late 2010, a 2-phase international competition involving 47 firms from around the world was held to select an iconic pedestrian bridge design for the city of Providence, Rhode Island. The proposal submitted by inFORM studio was selected as the winning entry and is slated for completion in 2013.

Site plan

In an effort to pursue a higher level of research and immerse our practice in an environmentally sustainable approach to every project, the firm formally changed the name to inFORM studio in early 2007. In March 2011, inFORM studio was selected as AIA Michigan Firm of the Year.

Site diagrams

1st Floor Plan

2nd Floor Plan



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Categories: Cultural Center, Exhibition Center

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