Located in Suzhou Industrial Park, the Xi’an Jiaotong–Liverpool University occupies a beautiful environment where there is a harmonious coexistence of the city’s rich cultural traditions and its rapid economic development. Aedas’ design for its Administration Information Building was inspired by the famous Taihu stone unearthed around the Suzhou city. Taihu stones are sometimes referred as scholar’s stones, as they are much appreciated by Chinese scholars. They are a kind of limestone exposed to long term wave erosion, resulting in pores and holes all over the stone. Peculiar and precipitous in appearance, the stones are of high ornamental value and have been a garden designers’ favourite since the ancient time. The porous nature of the stones is transformed into a void structure with functional spaces linking up different programmes within the building, including an administration center, a learning and resources center, a training center and a student activities center. The voids also allow the building to respond to the users and surrounding context and turn it into a vessel for interaction. The different heights of voids create a three-dimensional Suzhou garden within the building, and provide rooms for sustainable features such as the introduction of natural daylight and ventilation.
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