PLASMA Studio's latest project in Xixian City's Eco-Park isn't just a restaurant – it's also a greenhouse, hydroponic garden, and indoor playground. The project, which broke ground this past July, will twist and fold across the green landscape. Future dinners will enjoy meals featuring local ingredients and in-house produce (which they will also have the opportunity to pick themselves), echoing the sustainable approach taken by the rest of the park. Keep reading after the break to learn more about the interrelated, mixed-use program.
From the architect: Xi'an Eco-Park is part of a district located in the newly-developed region of Xixian City. The project includes two main gates to the park and a restaurant, acting as a focal and referential point within the landscape. To achieve this symbiotic relationship, our main concern was to develop a language compatible with the landscape, such that the architectural event takes place as a consolidation or intensification of a (various) moment(s) within the park.
The design, hence, is triggered by the desire of building, a dialogue between the landscape and its architecture, and an exchange that can build local specificity generating a sense of strong identity. Such identity, however, instead of relying on iconoclastic imaginary, finds its articulation in its placing within the site, stretching its boundaries onto the ground and producing a woven linkage with the landscape through elongated transitions – both spatial and functionally, it (re)defines its context and creates a new environment.
Based on the eco-strategy of the overall park, the restaurant has as an organic set up, with a menu centered on Xian’s regional produce and the local ingredients harvested from the garden’s orchard and the in-house hydroponic glass box. The experience offered to dinners includes picking their own vegetables and following its cooking process.
In addition to the dining experience, the project proposes some auxiliary activities such as a children playground and a greenhouse, both included in the internal layout of the restaurant. Such functions and their distinctive spatial requirements — both layout and materiality — are woven into the two ribbon like bodies converging by the entrance.
Morphologically speaking, the building grows from the topography at the north, evolving into a sinuous body that splits creating a gap for natural light and a vertiginous volumetric drop at the entrance plaza. Toward the south, it sits onto an artificial higher elevation, hence allowing for a series of ludicrous spaces (children playground and greenhouse) that play with the slopes through some slanted surfaces, among which we locate the main access ramp to the upper floor.
The butterfly house is located on the south outer ring of the building. With the comparison of the continuity on the north side, the butterfly house is inserted into the building as a glass case that brings the landscape indoors. At the same time, a series of spaces are generated as an integrated body that interweaves the landscape, the playground and the two main floors of the restaurant.
Diagrammatically speaking, the building is a major arc with both of its end points at the lowest elevation (+0.00m) and its middle point at the highest elevation (+3.80m). The three-dimensional spatial distribution resembles an ascendant spiral movement which is actualized by a membrane that more than covering/enclosing the internal area of this arc, augments the rich plasticity of the diagram as such. On the north side, at one of the end points, this roof is generated by 5 curves that bifurcate from lines coming out of the surrounding topography. These curves run along various elevations, working as a veritable extension of the ground to the roof of the building showcasing striations and depressions—topographic features in themselves. At the south side, at the other end point, two of the controlling curves of the roof drop dramatically reaching the ground, while the other remaining curves stay at a higher elevation. The former movement generates a “valley”, as seen from the outside. From the inside, this depression articulates the ascendant spiral of the main ramp, onto which the children playground and greenhouse are unfolded.
LocationXi'an, Shaanxi, China
Architect in ChargeEva Castro, Chuan Wang, Holger Kehne
Design TeamLibny Pacheco, Pietro Scarpa, Cesare Zilio, 景晟, 邹宇俊, 荆博, 瞿平山, 游雅
PhotographsCourtesy of PLASMA Studio