- Architect In Charge:Yong Huang, AIA
- Design Team:Miranda Middleton + Juan Zorrilla Baquero, students of Drury University
- Project Sponsor:Feng Zhenggong, President of ARTS Group
- Construction Coordinators:Gao Lin + Wu Lei + Wang Xiang, architects of ARTS Group
- General Contractor:Suzhou Hezhan Construction
- Publication Team:Nick Fish + Spencer Junye Zhou + Tony Yue, Atelier HAY
- Artistic Consultant:MJ Neal, FAIA
- Design Principal:Yong Huang, AIA, Assistant Professor, Drury University, Director, ARTS Group International Creative Center, Principal, Atelier HAY
- City:Suzhou Shi
Text description provided by the architects. The ARTS Plaza is located in Suzhou where countless canals have been serving as both the essential infrastructure for the city and the framework for public space for millenniums. The design was originally commissioned as a pair of roof skylights above an underground badminton hall at the center of a newly constructed business district.
By extending the structural steel plates that hold the skylight glass panels, a series of oversized steel gutters are folded into landscape features. Along the side of each folded trench, a wood bench caps the steel ledge. Like the historical canals to the city, these steel trenches celebrate the water flow during the rain and the site intervention offers a permanent public space. An elevated wooden platform between the two skylights acts as a children’s playground and an urban stage.
The project materials, ½ inch thick steel plate, solid wood, pebbles, stone inlays at the step, and bamboo, represent the five Chinese elements. The steel plate was bent and laser cut in a shipyard nearby and welded on site by trained seasonal workers from the farm. The wood bench tops are FSC certified and were hand made in a village 40 miles from the site.
Upon the completion of a subway station nearby and the subsequent opening of stores at the street level of the surrounding office towers, this project will transform a privately owned plaza into a vibrant public space.