- Structure: Jian Jin, Yulong Qiu, Yong Liu, Feng Wang
- Water And Drainage Supply: Yujin Huang
- Electrical: Kelan Cao
- Client: Nanjing University of the Arts
- City: Nanjing
- Country: China
One hall interpreting two themes
This very project found its place among the crowded dormitory buildings of Nanjing University of the Arts. What used to be the public rooms on the ground floor of the original No.46 dormitory is ready to be renovated and expanded into a two-story art exhibition hall. The lower floor is assigned to " the Exhibition Hall of Ancient Ceramics Researches", and the upper floor " the Exhibition Hall of Ancient Oil Painting Restoration ". The two halls representing for two themes, Chinese culture and western culture, are designed to be separated and to be managed independently.
Between traditions and arts, we identified the common characteristics of calmness and modesty. To correspond to this feeling, we designed a small building with fair-faced concrete named “The BETON Exhibition Hall”. The outer arc of the inner vault is used to pull the space from the bottom up to the skylight, creating a two-story shared space, offering an opportunity for dialogue between the two themes.
A space forming the community
The area of the new dormitory buildings is called “Creative District”. The “BETON Exhibition Hall” stands with the NO.46 high-rise dormitory on its south and a small square between the buildings on its north. North Hu Ju road outside the wall runs on its east side. On its west side, there is a stone-paved pedestrian street stretching down from the north to the south of the campus, which is a popular spot packed with cafes, book stores, creative shops and art installations.
The university is a miniature of a society. Since the project is in the very art university, and in the very lively dormitories' area, maintaining and inspiring a good sense of community in the area took the priority in this designing. The two-storey building already have a fairly good accessibility, with its first floor connecting to the street, and the second floor to an original bridge. Yet we would like to a step further. We squeezing out a small square of outdoor space from the limited building area and creating a vaulted veranda on the second floor, attracting people from different directions to move towards the cohesive square.
Renovation over construction
Nanjing University of the Arts is a model for the transformation and upgrading of the old campus in Jiangsu Province. It has been adhering to the original site for more than 60 years. With the old and new buildings emerging from the vegetated slopes, a vibrate and dynamic campus stands out. Narrow as the space is, it is deeply loved by both teachers and students. The construction of "BETON exhibition hall" is also part of the campus’ long-time "urban acupuncture" regeneration. Interior decoration took the main role in this regeneration, while only limited expansion of the building happened here. The junctions between the new and the old constructions are reinforced to meet the new technical specifications.
However, the essential of this project is neither to conquer the technical difficulties nor to increase the areas, but to inherit the campus atmosphere of art and life, and to attract more communications among the students by the uniqueness of the place.
Shaping the form
with a sculptural form, the building has two levels of vaults, which gives it a hint of Western art space. However, this space has its original reference in the Wuliang Hall (meaning “Beamless Hall”) in the Linggu Temple in Nanjing. The outer vault has a special texture with its fair-faced concrete, creating a metaphor for the brushstrokes of oil paintings and the fragments of ancient ceramics. What's more, it should bring a gentle sense of security to the persons below. This feeling will be further enhanced by the warm light of the night.
The corner of the building is set back from the street in order to avoid the Camphor tree in the yard, which makes the descending stairs twisting into a geometrical form.
A beam of sky light spills down, behind the curved wall, upon the stair step, brings a hint of vividness to the solemn arcade. The newly added rusty-steel stairway is placed diagonally towards the cross-street bridge, revealing only a section from the exuberant street trees, identifying itself as a light reminder of the hall hidden behind.