Architect: Line and Space, LLC Location: Xiamen, China Project Team: Les Wallach, FAIA (Lead Designer), Bob Clements, AIA, LEED AP (Project Architect), Henry Tom, AIA, NCARB (Project Manager), Mike Anglin, RA, LEED AP, John McColgin, Ray Jin LEED AP, Emily Starace RA, LEED AP Project Area: 11,400 sqf Project Year: August 2011 Photographs: Yang Chaoying, Line and Space, LLC
Line and Space recently completed their design for a programmatically responsive building in the burgeoning city of Xiamen, China – an area with an expected increase of 600,000 people in just a few short years. Part of a larger development in the Jimei New City District, the new JNC Sales Office/Community Art Center will serve as a temporary sales office prior to be being transformed into a space to house local and regional art.
One of the unique aspects about China’s burgeoning economy and rapid growth is the various methods that are currently being embraced for new developments. Whether it is how buildings are designed for future use or the manner of funding, China is continuously developing intriguing methods of embracing free-market economics. The JNC Sales Office is no exception, as it is a privately funded public building. Embracing the vitality and vigor of the current environment, Line and Space designed the critical central hub of this new development that responds to current and anticipated demographics, culture, and technological transformations through innovative methods.
Situated in the middle of the newly developing suburb, the site is currently surrounded by a sea of construction activity and its accompanying noise and dust as well as undesirable views of existing commercial buildings. Thus, the first design solution was how to provide reprieve from the omnipresent activity around the building. The solution is achieved via two asymptotic black basalt walls that frame and shield the central path that leads visitors through a field of flowers to the main entry. As one travels along the pathway, the walls begin to create a sense of compression as they curve in towards each other, before releasing you into the open interior space of the building. Additional shielding from the ambient noise is achieved through a bamboo forest located on the edge of the site adjacent to the primary road on the Southwest corner.
The main building volume is contained within a bright yellow corrugated metal drum, which juxtaposes the black basalt walls. Upon entry, an open floor plan is anchored by a 32’x20’ physical model of the new development. A simple yet crisply executed material palette comprised of a suspended wood lattice ceiling on the peripheries, stone flooring, and matte black ceiling with recessed lighting in a variable circular pattern complement each other. This theme is carried throughout the temporary sales office, client offices, discussion spaces, VIP areas, a children’s play area, and a presentation theater. Natural daylight and ventilation are incorporated into the design through the interior garden featuring floor to ceiling glazing and clerestory windows located along the perimeter walls – emphasizing the inward view and focus of the facility.
Since the function of sales office is temporary, the strategies incorporated into the design necessitated frontend planning that supported its final role as a Community Arts Center. With this in mind, the currently blank basalt walls will serve as the canvas for future art displays. Internal programming will be transformed into an art facility for the community, and the park with model apartments on the Northeast side of the building will become an area to showcase large scale sculptures. Envisioned as a solution to extend the life of what might have otherwise been solely temporary, the JNC Sales Office/Community Arts Center will live on as an integral landmark for the new community where the public can enjoy exhibits by local and regional artists.