aoe completed ShuiFa Exhibition Centre in Jinan Shi, China creating an introverted building isolated from the surroundings yet a focal point of the entire area which stands in a four “stones” arrangement having the life pouring out from within it like a stream of clear spring water flowing from the cracks in the rocks.
-text by the authors
The project is located in the Changqing Economic Development Zone, 20 kilometers away from the city centre of Jinan. The area has not yet been developed on a large scale. The surrounding environment is a messy mix of high-voltage line towers dotting weed-strewn farmland.
In order to give visitors the best viewing experience, the designer has isolated the area from the surrounding environment and has created a relatively enclosed space.
The architectural design is inspired by Wang Wei’s verse from Mountain Dwelling in Autumn: “Rain passes in the pristine mountain, refreshing autumn evening. Moon shines among the pine, clear spring flows on stones”.
The main structure is assembled out of white perforated panels, glowing with pure and elegant cultural motifs.
The northern boundary is designed like a mountain waterfall, combined with green microtopography, giving the whole building an air of refinement filled with cultural significance. The building’s main functions are hosting residential sales expos, property expos, and offices. The main entrance is located on the west side. In order to eliminate the visual impact of the messy surrounding environment, geometrical hills are designed to surround the square, which slowly rises as people enter the site, gradually blocking out the view. Mountains, water, and marble are fused together in this undeveloped wilderness.
A second layer is set outside the main structure – perforated plating, so that the building is enveloped within the perforated plating, forming a relatively enclosed space. The curtain wall sections are slanted, nestled, and interlaced inside, and the gap between the sections naturally forms the entrance of the building. Everything happens inside the space covered by the perforated plate curtain wall, connected to the outside world only through the irregular gaps. The interior of the building is obscured by the white perforated plating, and as night falls, light shines through the perforated plates to make the whole building glow, like a piece of shiny marble standing in the wilderness.
The density of the perforation of the plate gradually changes from top to bottom according to the function of the building interior. The main function of the first and second floors of the building is as display areas, so the density of perforation is higher for more transparency. The main function of the third and fourth floors of the building is for office space, which requires a relatively private environment, so the number of perforation is lower, and it is relatively more enclosed while ensuring sufficient lighting.
The gradual changes in the perforated plates allow the permeability of the building facade to gradually change from top to bottom, giving a sense of depth to the overall surface of the building. The perforated plate itself has a shading effect, like a layer of ecological skin, making the building more environmentally friendly. At the same time, the gray space formed between the glass curtain wall and the perforated plate enriches people’s spatial experience inside the building.
In terms of landscape design, in order to reflect the reputation of Jinan as the City of Springs, a large area of cascading water was set up along the main avenue display area, with the water falling from 4-meter-high stone steps. The main entrance to the property exhibition hall is set on the second floor, concealed behind the cascading water, and can be reached through a bridge. On the connecting bridge, there is cascading water on the outside, and a tranquil pool on the inside centered around a welcoming pine. One side is in motion and the other side is tranquil, reflecting the mood of the bright moon shining between the pine tree and clear spring water on the stones.
Upon entering the building, visitors are drawn from the wilderness into a paradise.
The interior of the building is also a continuation of the exterior, with the perforated plating element of the entrance area extending directly from the exterior to the interior. A large, four-story atrium serves as a sandbox area and becomes the focal point of the entire space. Natural light comes in from the skylight and is surrounded by perforated plates, forming a space imbued with a sense of ritual. Viewing windows are set up on the enclosed perforated plates, allowing the people upstairs to look over the sandbox, while also setting up a contrast that makes the space livelier.
The first floor is the residential sales expo center. The walls of the main entrance and the multi-functional rest area extend the architectural form to the interior, continuing the clean and blocky design. The four-story-high atrium and the perforated plate material on the facade make the atrium space extremely impressive and awe-inspiring. The two connecting bridges above the atrium enliven the space between the different floors, while the mirrored stainless steel skin reflects the entire atrium space as if floating in the air. The viewing windows on the curtain wall allow visitors to overlook the sandbox on the first floor and increase spatial transparency. The low-set sandbox increases the spatial contrast and the sense of ritual. The design of the atrium has a strong visual impact on people, like a box suspended in the air.
The second floor is the property exhibition hall. The interior facade uses the shape of the building to extend the exterior form of the building entrance to the interior. The contour is designed according to the outline of the entire building. The entire wall presents an origami-like form, with a consistent architectural theme. The “stone block” intent is embodied throughout the exhibition hall, connecting the reception area at the entrance to the various exhibition spaces on the same level, while the folding of the wall creates a wide range of spatial variety. The perforated plates on the facade of the atrium are designed to unify the visual effect of the atrium, with viewing windows set on the facade to enable visitors on different floors and spaces to discover different perspectives and contrasts.
The integrated design of architecture, view, and interior enable the entire project to be consistent with the design concept. While isolated from the surrounding environment, it also becomes the focal point of the entire area, satisfying the display requirements as an exhibition center and sales office, bringing new opportunities for the development of this region.
Facts & Credits
Project title Shuifa Geographic Information Industrial Park Exhibition Center
Location Changqing District, Jinan, China
Completion year 2020
Gross Built Area 5200 sq.m.
Architecture firm aoe
Lead architect Larry Wen
Photography Jianquan Wu