Text description provided by the architects. The tourism complex of the Grand-Canal in Hangzhou is one of the most important commercial complexes in the north part of Hangzhou, and the gateway of the Grand-Canal travel route. This project is to design the visitor center. Located on the heart of the masterplan, the visitor center aims to be “a strong anchor point” to connect the entire cultural development with the urban grain.
The total site area is 20,534 m2, the total floor area is 32,110 m2. Functions include a port terminal center for water bus, a bus station, F&B, entertainment and other modern commercial facilities.
We found inspirations from the “bridge” in traditional Chinese architecture. The shape of site is like a “Z”, stuck in the middle of the commercial complex and Yunhe Tiandi shopping center. We decided to extend the footprint along the perimeter of the site to maximize the efficiency. The slender form enhances the experience of “walking on the bridge”, which corresponds with the flow of the canal and creates a poetic interpretation of the center’s symbolic identity.
The continuous, undulating roof corresponds with the river flow and the steel gantry structure of the previous shipyard. In contrast to the three high, vertical business buildings in the rear, the linear, horizontal building form of the center enriches the layers of the skyline.
Instead of using singular glass curtain wall, vertical steel shutters cover the periphery of building façade creating an obscure effect, which may also reminds people of the hazy aesthetic feeling in ancient Chinese scenery .
The fifth façade of the building is decorated with gardens, overseeing the Grand-Canal and the marina facilities.