Xiaopu Culture Center / DnA


Location:Songzhuang town,Tongzhou distant,Beijing,
Architect in Charge:Tiantian Xu
Program:Cultural Center
Client:Xiaopu village government
Project year:2006-2007
Site area:1,600 sqm
Building area:2,000 sqm
Photographs:Savoye/Ruogu Zhou

nEO_IMG_21IMG_4023 nEO_IMG_20078 nEO_IMG_20104 nEO_IMG_25424

Located on an irregular former industrial lot in the well known art village Songzhuang, Xiaopu Cultural Center is a multi-functional complex including exhibition galleries, five residency artist studios, exhibition workshop, art shop, and administration.

program site plan
program site plan

The diverse programs are unified through a Tangram layout adapting to the site, while vertically distributed into dual-levels: the public program on the ground level as a compact volume with courtyards, and the private working area occupies the upper level with individual studios allowing a view traveling across the red-tiled roofscape of this typical northern Chinese village.


The Tangram layout creates an intersection of studios and double-height galleries. This visual connection allows the juxtaposition of art production and presentation.

The exterior corrugated metal are not only to fit into the tight budget but also to keep a touch of the former industrial context.

The transformation from industry into culture facility will become catalyst for bringing new possibilities for local community.

Cite: "Xiaopu Culture Center / DnA" 04 Oct 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=36811>
  • lulu

    funny,like a kind of chinese toy,a seven-piece puzzle

    • sfrulz

      yeah, i think that’s what it’s based on according to the last diagram

  • Ala

    I don’t know who started the “scattered planning” strategy. The first one I saw is one of OMA projects(FONDATION PINAULT, FRANCE, PARIS, 2001). Then I started to see that in other’s work, such as BIG and a few others that I fail to recall, and now DnA. Does anyone know anything earlier than OMA’s?

    • Ala

      Thought I should clarify what I meant. I did not mean to say that others are stealing the idea of “scattered planning.” What I meant is the chaotic looking planning strategy is becoming a typology. And I am just wondering who first got that idea. It is like the “spiral ramp” libraries that are increasingly popular these days. But someone has started first before the idea becomes a typology.

      • http://www.archurbanist.blogspot.com dave

        Piranesi? His “Ichnographiam Campi Martii antiquae urbis”, aka Campo Marzio plans show an early idea of the “scattered planning” technique, as you put it: http://www.quondam.com/15/1443.htm

        I think it is something that probably comes out of theories of urban design, such as Rowe’s “collage city”. You can also see it in earlier OMA projects such as the Almere masterplan.

      • Ala

        Thanks, Dave. Very informative.

    • Ill

      Gehry also did some of that in his Winton Guest House – but I guess you could follow that path through the entire history – from Scharoun http://www.montag-stiftungen.com/uploads/pics/Lernraeume_fuer_Zukunft_Scharoun.jpg to Villa Hadriana – and surely to the beginning of architecture. I don’t really know if it’s especially popular nowadays but … Sanaa, Sou, Chipperfield in Barca….




    • RT


  • Frank

    That is rude, dude. Haha. It should be deleted before everyone understands it. Very funny.

  • http://www.archilocus.com archilocus

    I won’t discuss the 45 degrees angles.. I like the first mystic picture, but did no one show those guys how ugly such glass facades become after 5 years ? Humidity starts to leave marks at connections to floor and where the ceiling goes behind the glass panels…

  • arnold

    is it Germany? Netherlands? Finland? Sweden? Denmark?.. NO! It’s China! :-)

    • hbchbc

      Oh yes, boy, you are gonna see more and more China. So get ready…. Don’t be surprise next time.

      • gsapp guy

        Don’t get it wrong hbchbc, apparently arnold was trying to imply that this building is totally without cultural identity. Actually the only thing that may implies the building’s location is the lack of tectonics.

  • anshushang

    formalistic approach without architectural intention. what we can expect and we actually get is strangeness that is not very astonishing nor inspiring. the lack of intention also explains the absence of tectonic.details don’t have to be story-telling if there is now story but arbitrary volumetric games. the mentality of this kind of design is architectural nihilism that shows the impotence of the architect to establish meaningful connections with the society. she chooses to retreat from the cultural frontier, indulges herself in making pretty architectual photograghs.

    • RT

      I agree! The only thing i found interesting is the diagram; however, the architect didn’t derive either the bldg’s form or connections from the puzzle piece, rather just throw all the geometric blocks and made a mess.

  • oscar falcón lara

    Oh wow, this is very cool. The presentation materials are fantastic, and the concept well, it’s not without it’s down sides but I think it’s a winner. Great !

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  • Tuf-Pak

    This Art Is Fresh!

  • Gary

    can anyone shed some light on me as to why is that window oriented towards the wall? might it be due to the $50,000 finishes on it? no, i do not think so.

  • Alim Aminirad


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  • Bana alkhateeb

    The building doesnt look “chinnese” . out of context and the irregular plan is a bit disturbing.

  • Lh

    Always makes me laugh when people say buildings don’t look ‘Chinese’. What do you want, red roofs and timber columns on every building or else it will be labelled as lacking culture? Does every building in England look British? Every building in America American? etc etc

  • http://www.archilocus.com archilocus

    @oscar falcón lara: which concept? turning some shapes 45degrees?
    @Lh: I agree with yu, chinese buildings do not necessarily need to “seem” chinese, but japanese, swiss or dutch are very good at making architecture which seems to be japanese, swiss or dutch. Perhaps we should try more to question ourself about our architectural identity rather than all doing the same things in different contexts, cultures and climate…

  • ็What you know about it

    Some comment just a disgusting things.

    You can comment but you can’t do good things like this work~
    never and ever!

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