Collaborating Architect: Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tongji University
Contractor: Shanghai Xinchang Construction Co., Ltd.
Text description provided by the architects. This project is sited in the north of Anting Town, in a triangular plot by a river that is completely surrounded by industrial buildings (factories and warehouses) with the exception of one supermarket. The program's complexity required a negation between the exterior and interior, resulting a tight interior spaces.
Since a lot of spaces are required for outdoor activities, spaces available for construction are slightly tight. With the intent of keeping the relative independence for different internal use, simplifying space complexity and reducing external dimensions, the whole building is divided into four independent volumes. These four volumes of natatorium, gym, culture center and cinema are of different sizes, height and scales, and are arranged along the road by the side of the site from northeast to southwest in a saw tooth pattern. A semi-enclosed entrance plaza for pedestrian faces the main road on the west. Since majority of the main spaces are located on the second floor, all four volumes are linked by an elevated compact public platform. This platform can be accessed freely via wide ramps on the west and north. Underneath the platform are supporting facilities such as bistros, café, shops, fitness rooms and parking lots.
The four independent volumes have very strict functional and space requirements of their own, demonstrating themselves in a way strongly restraining the expressiveness. All external characteristics are merely direct representation of internal uses, making each volume tending towards an abstract autonomy, eliminating the respective unnecessary complicated expression, and presenting to the city a subtle yet interesting linkage created by their respective locations and mutual relationships. In the natatorium, the swimming pool and locker rooms are located in two parallel volumes from south to north, and are connected by a series of glass bridges through a narrow courtyard. Above the swimming pool is a movable roof with skylights. This roof can be opened and closed as a whole. Between the pedestal as fitness center at the bottom and the roof on the top, extending eastward over the public platform is the gym.
At the gym, two volumes in different sizes are juxtaposed from north to south. The larger one on the north is a triple-story high indoor ball game court with high sidelights facing north; and the smaller one on the south with backward-terraced garden houses dedicated activity rooms and management offices wrapped by a semi-transparent metal mesh net and vertical green plants. The cultural center is a seven-storied cubic volume with the first floor being a bistro facing the plaza and the second to fifth floors being superimposed exhibition hall and discotheque, each with a double-storied height. The cultural activity rooms on the sixth and seventh floors of the cultural center are arranged around an elevated open air central courtyard that opens to the riverside landscape to the east on the seventh floor. The cinema is the smallest two-storied volume at the southwest corner, with the audience hall accessible via either a two-story high side entrance lobby on the first floor facing the plaza, or a cantilevered foyer on the second floor facing the river that links the cultural center exhibition hall.
The individual abstractness and overall richness are enhanced by the use of restrained yet unified materials. Large-area stone cladding acts a steady background. Transversal long windows, seemingly distributed freely but actually controlling indoor lighting and vision, pre-coated aluminum cladding, and metal mesh nets with vertical plants wrapping movable roof and terrace garden have become intense focus of perceiving, thus people can feel the tension and dialogue between individual volumes from various points of view. Also, the characteristics of simple and pure volumes well reflect the interior activities.