Project Type: Cultural (Tourist Centre—Information Area, Offices, Staff Rooms, Storage Spaces and Restrooms)
Appointment: 2017 (Direct Commission)
Client: Evogma Group & Cozoo
Project Team: Kostas Grigoriadis, Li Zhang
Current Status: Built
The project is located in the Huangshan (Yellow) Mountain region in southeast China and consists of a tourist information space, local craft display and storage area, staff rooms, restrooms and an observation deck. The main design objective has been to eschew an object-in-the-landscape approach, and instead integrate the building in the surrounding landscape both formally, as well as materially. On a formal level, a staircase placed at each end of the building allows it to be continuous with the ground plane, while enabling continuous longitudinal movement over and across it. As a result of this, the Centre’s roof becomes an extension of the public space around it and can be openly accessed for enjoying views of the dramatic mountainous surroundings. The majority of materials, such as the cedar wood used for the facade ribs, have been locally sourced to minimise their carbon footprint. Initially designed to be curved, the ribs had to be rationalized into straight segments (one measurement vertically and one across to mark each vertex) that could be easily hand cut to size and shape by local craftsmen in the village’s wood workshop. The different segments were glued together, polished and varnished before being installed on the facade. Formally, their width varies gradually from one end of the building to the other, swelling higher up to mark the Centre’s entrance. They also shade the interior from the low hot sun in the summer, while allowing sunlight into the space for passive heating during the winter. Funded by a national strategic plan fund for reversing urban migration and working with budget constraints, local materials and available tools and machinery the endeavour has been to create a sustainable focal point for local inhabitants and visitors of this remote rural region.