Haibing Center of Nankai University / Vector Architects

Haibing Center of Nankai University / Vector Architects

Colonnade South End and  Lakeshore. Image © Hao ChenSpiral Staircase and Atrium. Image © Hao ChenView from Sky Gallery to the Original Arc Wall of South Facade. Image © Shengliang SuView under the Suspended Cloister . Image © Shengliang Su+ 71

Tianjin, China
  • Architect In Charge:Gong Dong
  • Project Architect:Han Zhang
  • Cooperative Architect:Liaohui Guo
  • Site Architects:Liwen Zhang, Jingteng Li
  • Design Team:Chaoying Feng, Wei Tao, Liwen Zhang, Jingteng Li, Xiaokai Ma, Liangliang Zhao, Zhenqiang Chen, Jian Wang, Yixiu Zhang, Gong Chen, Edward Evva
  • Collaborator Project Architect:Binlian Yang
  • Collaborator Architect:Wei Xu
  • Structure Design:Congzhen Xiao, Dewen Chu, Yanzhe Mao, Shuang Zhao
  • Mep Design:Peng Zhang(Water), Chuanyong Zhou(Heating), Xiaofei Li(Eletrical), Jian Dang(Eletrical)
More SpecsLess Specs
Aerial View. Image © Hao Chen
Aerial View. Image © Hao Chen

Text description provided by the architects. Haibing Center of Nankai University aims to provide the old campus with a multi-functional cultural space for students, faculties and alumni. As well as being used for teaching, the building is also capable of hosting conferences and exhibitions. 

Aerial View. Image © Hao Chen
Aerial View. Image © Hao Chen
model
model
View from the Horseshoe Lake to Southern Plaza. Image © Hao Chen
View from the Horseshoe Lake to Southern Plaza. Image © Hao Chen

The site is flanked by water on both sides, the east side facing Horseshoe Lake, on the central axis of the original Republic of China-era campus dating from a hundred years ago. The west side faces the manmade Xinkai Lake, excavated during later campus expansion in the post-Liberation era. These two artificial bodies of water differ significantly in their atmosphere, scale, vegetation and daylighting environment. 

View from Dazhong Road to the Haibing Center. Image © Hao Chen
View from Dazhong Road to the Haibing Center. Image © Hao Chen
sketch
sketch
Public Plaza. Image © Shengliang Su
Public Plaza. Image © Shengliang Su

Their respective styles reflect a rich sociopolitical and cultural legacy. In and around the building itself grow a large quantity of trees. Amid these are the remnants of a large dining hall built in 1952, which is enclosed by red brick walls and a shallow vaulted roof.

View from Sky Gallery to the Original Arc Wall of South Facade. Image © Shengliang Su
View from Sky Gallery to the Original Arc Wall of South Facade. Image © Shengliang Su

The core issues we considered at the start of the design process were how the new building could respond to both these two bodies of water as well as to the original red brick dining hall, while as much as possible preserving the existing trees and their relationship to the site. Compared to a strategy of whole scale demolition and rebuilding, an idea focusing on preservation helped us to unite the new with the old in a more authentic way, maintaining the actual history of the location. 

sketch
sketch
sketch
sketch

In terms of layout, we worked from the scale and open plan of the original dining hall, dividing the space into a central grand hall and a 1000-capacity multi-functional auditorium. The grand hall is the tallest vertical space of the building, with its concrete roof slab being supported by four giant pillars.

View from the Horseshoe Lake to the Rebuilt North Wall of the Haibing Center. Image © Hao Chen
View from the Horseshoe Lake to the Rebuilt North Wall of the Haibing Center. Image © Hao Chen

In the cross section, the pillars narrow and widen in two directions with height, implying the load borne by the structural components and giving the space a directionality at various heights. 

To the East, South and West, we located entrances. In this way, the grand hall can serve as a space for connection and convergence within the overall layout. Outside the southern entrance to the grand hall, we designed a small public plaza, enclosed on three sides. 

View from Grand Hall to the Xinkai Lake. Image © Hao Chen
View from Grand Hall to the Xinkai Lake. Image © Hao Chen
View from Grand Hall to the Horseshoe Lake. Image © Hao Chen
View from Grand Hall to the Horseshoe Lake. Image © Hao Chen

The plaza opens out onto Horseshoe Lake to the east and incorporates the southern wall of the dining hall as its northern boundary. Its western and southern interfaces are framed by newly constructed volumes raised up at varied heights above the ground,visually and spatially linking the plaza with Xinkai Lake and the campus' main artery, Dazhong Road, in different directions.

View under the Suspended Cloister . Image © Shengliang Su
View under the Suspended Cloister . Image © Shengliang Su

The west side facing Xinkai Lake provides an expansive view, suggesting the scale of the campus. Acting as a response, the building on this West side establishes a serene horizontal elevation stretching out in harmony, parallel with the body of water. The western volume rests on a single story height piloti, forming an internal colonnade. Taking advantage of the limited depth of space, we located classrooms, small and medium sized conference halls, circulation cores, restrooms and other service spaces here. 

Public Plaza under Sky Gallery. Image © Hao Chen
Public Plaza under Sky Gallery. Image © Hao Chen
sketch
sketch
View from the Southern Plaza to Dazhong Road. Image © Hao Chen
View from the Southern Plaza to Dazhong Road. Image © Hao Chen

In the narrow three story high “canyon” space adjacent to the original western wall of the old dining hall, a straight staircase vertically threads together the various programs at different levels. In comparison to the simple and uniform volume at the Xinkai Lake side, the part along the Horseshoe Lake side appears to be a more dispersed cluster, as befits the more intimate scale and more richly layered space of Horseshoe Lake within the campus.

Colonnade along the Xinkai Lake and its Lakeshore. Image © Hao Chen
Colonnade along the Xinkai Lake and its Lakeshore. Image © Hao Chen
Colonnade along the Xinkai Lake. Image © Hao Chen
Colonnade along the Xinkai Lake. Image © Hao Chen

Because the site and its surrounding area have numerous lush trees, creating a pleasantly aesthetic surrounding landscape, we decided to use clear glass as the major material for the façade. Only the red brick of the old dining hall was kept. In order to reduce the energy consumption associated with direct sunlight, we originally designed a copper mesh skin as a sunshade affixed to the glass façade. 

Lakeshore Gallery. Image © Hao Chen
Lakeshore Gallery. Image © Hao Chen
View from the Second Floor Hallway to the Light Atrium. Image © Shengliang Su
View from the Second Floor Hallway to the Light Atrium. Image © Shengliang Su
Spiral Staircase and Atrium. Image © Hao Chen
Spiral Staircase and Atrium. Image © Hao Chen
Staircase and Atrium. Image © Hao Chen
Staircase and Atrium. Image © Hao Chen

Unfortunately, due to the pressure from the completion schedule in the later phase of construction, we had to modify the original design which applied a double skin to the whole building, and only utilized this feature on the Xinkai Lake section, much to our regret.

View from Conference Room to Roof Terrace. Image © Hao Chen
View from Conference Room to Roof Terrace. Image © Hao Chen
Roof Garden. Image © Hao Chen
Roof Garden. Image © Hao Chen

For us, Haibing Center is an attempt to build a spatial response particular to a specific site. We hope that this newly implanted space will further stimulate a positive and high quality modern campus lifestyle in a way that respects the natural environment while retaining the texture of the old campus.

Interior of Zhide Foundation Office. Image © Hao Chen
Interior of Zhide Foundation Office. Image © Hao Chen
Colonnade South End and  Lakeshore. Image © Hao Chen
Colonnade South End and Lakeshore. Image © Hao Chen

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Project location

Address:Tianjin, China

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Haibing Center of Nankai University / Vector Architects" 11 Feb 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/926963/haibing-center-of-nankai-university-vector-architects> ISSN 0719-8884
© Hao Chen

南开大学海冰楼 / 直向建筑

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