With the site of the proposed project characterized by a 7m height difference between the south west corner and the north east one and the fastest way to access to it is from the roads west and north of it, the Huaihua Theater and Exhibition Center will be managed by three different subjects adding further difficulties in organizing the layout. Designed by United Design Group, the 60,000 m² complex is equally subdivided between the theater/cinema part (30,000 m²) and exhibitions: 12,000 m² for the museum; 10,000 m² for the urban planning hall; 3000 m² for the fine arts museum and 1000 m² for the local history exhibition. An extra 6000 m² will host the art training center. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Huaihua is a prefecture-city level in the Hunan Province in the south central part of China. The city is surrounded by one of the Five Great Mountains of China, Mount Heng (150 km long) and crossed by a web of rivers named “Wu Xi” (five rivers) which helped the growth of this relatively small city and its economy; The site of the project is located in the north east part of the municipality, just south of the park along the main branch of the river’s web that form a buffer between the site and the newly built headquarter of the local government.
The several subjects involved in the management and the different uses, initially led us to focus on the relationships between the different functions. The program clearly stated that the new building had to express in some way the “Wu Xi Spirit”. In the ancient times, the river system was the primary way of communication and connection between the several villages along its path. We tried to translate it into our project, superimposing the layout of the five rivers into our site; this pattern will form the circulation space inside the building.
The Theater and the entrance to the Museum will be located right on the corners facing the main roads and they’ll play the role of landmarks in this new development. The Urban Planning Hall will take place in the proximity of the plaza in front of the government building being very likely the local government will to display their achievements to guests, either groups of citizen or other officials. As for the training area it will be positioned in the proximity of the local residential community in the south east corner.
Another important feature of the projects will determine the appearance of the buildings in its elevation, the mountains which surround the city. We wanted to achieve a solid look, that’s why the choice of the stone in the façade and the extensive use of green pitched roof to give a more natural aspect. The Theater building will be separated from the rest of the system, not only this individuality will be reflected in its shape but also in the different pattern of the stones in the façade.
The form (shape) of the system will take into account the site topography; the stripes configuration will ease fitting the building into the land. The WuXi spirits will be reflected also into another level, the landscape layer, in which five pools of water will take place, to underline the entrances of the buildings but also will work, in the Theater Building as the element that will keep it apart from the rest of the system.
Another Local Element
Due to the functions, mainly exhibition areas, the configuration of the façade consists of three main elements, solid stone walls, big windows in the corners and a system of four different patterns each one used on the four main “stripes” of the system. From a local typical textile we have chosen a geometrical pattern on which we have developed four simple geometries that will morph in shape and size, providing an interesting design of lights and shadows into parts of the exhibition areas and in the main public zones such as lobbies or circulation spaces.
The Skylights Connecting the Different Blocks
Given so much importance to the circulation system which will recall the WuXi spirit, we introduced these skylight, bright elements in order to provide natural light to the public areas and the circulation spaces. Also these elements will concur to achieve the final configuration of this artificial mountains chain, sort of snowy peaks.
Architects: United Design Goup (UDG China)
Location: Huaihua, China
Design Leader: Simone De Gradi
Design Team: Zhang Dan, Chang Cheng, Yan Xin
Site Area: 124,811 m²
Height Limit: 40 m
GFA: 86,298 m²
Above Ground Constructed Area: 62,893 m²
Underground Constructed Area: 23,389 m²
Footprint Area: 29,141 m²
Parking Number: 478
Above Ground: 76
Green Rate: 45%