WAI Architecture Think Thank has completed a study for an architecture, urbanism and spatial politics laboratory in the center of Beijing. Conceived as an avant-garde institution for the education of environmental and spatial design, their design creates an educational center based on the principle of open learning and cross-disciplinarity. The building arranges the multiple programs in a sequence of open spaces and sloping floors that together form a continuous loop of learning experiences. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The building includes workshops, lecture and performance halls, libraries, printing rooms, leisure spaces, bookshop, exhibition spaces and a cafeteria. Rather than exerting all its effort on the redundant futility of contemporary architectural form, the building maintains a brutal level of neutrality in its exterior, while its interior acts as a catalyst of spatial dynamism and intellectual exchange.
The plan establishes the limits of the circulation in a building. With the aim of enhancing interrelation between spaces, and creating a continuous exchange between programs, the floor slabs of the building are connected to each other by means of sloping floors that act like lecture and performance halls, workshops and circulation space.
By distorting the building not in plan, but in section, a new richness of spatial experiences is achieved. What used to be the regime of the generic space because of the repetition of equidistant slabs now becomes a pluralistic assembly of zones of varying spatial potentials.
Free Structure and Space
Advancements in engineering allow for the distribution of the structure not only to create optimum spaces, but also to divide and delimit, and to support both the free section and the continuous plan. Modern Architecture inherited the free horizontal plan from an industrial era focused on mass production. In an era more concerned with creativity and dynamism, Contemporary Architecture integrates the diagonal slab to the free plan; creating spaces that not only avoid the generic monotony now part of every office building but that enhances new visual and physical connections between spaces that otherwise wouldn’t have any relationship.
Walls as Fenestration
With more advanced and efficient translucent materials available, a new dialectic can be achieved between the building and its surroundings, as it becomes a possibility to “frame” the views to the context without sacrificing the privacy of the building’s interior. The building façade turns opaque during the hours of the day, and becomes a “lantern” during the night.