LocationQinling National Botanical Garden, Xi'an, Shanxi, China
Lead ArchitectQili Yang, Yan Bai
Design TeamFang Li, Dong Wang, Wen Zhang, Marina, Qiaoqiao Ji
Charge on SiteDong Wang
ClientQinling National Botanical Garden
Scenery and orientation
Located in the experimental nursery area of the Qinling National Botanical Garden, the expert apartment is an accommodation building for botanists to conduct field research. To the north of the site, the building is separated from Round Hill Road by a green buffer zone. Further north, it is the Central Shaanxi Plain with fields and path. To the south of the site, the sight cross gentle land of nearby village.
About one kilometer, a range of mountain climbs steeply, and lies in front of you. It seems to be a long scroll of Chinese painting, stacked in layers, slowly extending and paved in front of eyes.Regardless of orientation and scenery, the key view of the site is to face south. Therefore, the building is taken as a viewfinder, and each major space owns the southern scenery, which is a solid design strategy that we arrived site in the first time. How does the building see and be seen in such a beautiful natural environment? It became the question for our next thoughts.
The expert apartment has three floors. At the first and second floors, it is separated by three independent boxes with same size. The program of each boxes consists of eight individual dwelling units with balconies. The opening of facade faces south to ensure that each space has a southern scenery and daylight. However, boxes rotate slightly in different direction, which brings nuances of view. Scenery, in some way, is also different. The three boxes are connected on the second floor by a traffic corridor.
And the corridor is two-way transparent, bringing a two-way scenery between the north and south.On top of those boxes, the third floor is a long folded volume that connects the buildings together. The Inside of long folded volume is a public space, and the south façade of volume is fixed by a floor-to-ceiling glazing where experts can dine, drink tea and enjoy the long scroll of scenery. The long volume attaches to the north, so the roof of three boxes remains on the south side. Naturally, the remaining of three roofs become open terrace for the public space. Due to position of higher place, the view is almost unobstructed.The scenery of the Qinling Mountains is solid, but the orientation, height and length of the viewing are different, which brings a different scenery experience. The expert apartment completed its morphogenesis as a viewfinder.
Material and construction
The choice of facade materials is still a continuation of concept of the viewfinder. Silver metal panel is used to wrap entire building. The expert apartment looks like a temporary installation that gently touch the ground as if it could be removed at any time. Horizontal lines of metal panel façade weakens the visual height of the building. In the detail, the construction of hidden nails also strengthens overall sense of the whole building.
The strategy of expert apartment design is to respond to two design elements of the site and function through a distinct concept. This distinct concept brings a succinct selection of spatial operations and material detail design. Furthermore, it ultimately brings an honest and readable building. For us, it is the answer to how does the building see and be seen in beautiful environment.