The Gate of Chongqing Longhu Park is a park gate for the town of Longxing in Chongqing China. The town is famous for its traditional Chinese building and street style that has been preserved for more than hundreds of years.
Architizer chatted with Xin Yuan, Director at XinY Structural Consultants to learn more about this project.
Architizer: Please summarize the project brief and creative vision behind your project.
Xin Yuan: An elegantly rigid double curved surface will be obtained when grabbing the corners of the quad with different forces. This non-building structure consists of the rigid double curved roof and vertical columns. Even though in form of instantaneous changeable structure, the structural stability can be easily achieved by the non-developable roof surface and steel pipes of varied lengths. Additional to the fixity of the joints, the significant lateral structural stiffness can be obtained by very little deformation of the vertical columns of short lengths without generating excessively large forces in the structure under large wind or seismic load.
What inspired the initial concept for your design?
Usually transient structures are considered unusable for construction. If we use a rigid and huge hyperboloid roof to coordinate the forces of all the columns, the parallel columns with different lengths will no longer be parallel after being deformed by force, and the structure will become stable.
What do you believe is the most unique or ‘standout’ component of the project?
The elegant roof and extremely slender columns. The thinnest column is only 60mm in diameter and 10.4m in length. Self-prestresses help those pipe columns stabilize.
What was the greatest design challenge you faced during the project, and how did you navigate it?
1. Keep the columns slim and stable at the same time.
2. The columns hinged at both ends are arranged almost in parallel, while maintaining the stability of the structural system.
How did the context of your project — environmental, social or cultural — influence your design?
This is a park gate for Longxing town in Chongqing China. The town is a famous as its buildings and streets of traditional Chinese styles, preserved from hundreds year ago. Since last 20 years, the town has been modernized with the development of the country. As a gate of a newly built area, its architecture characteristic is expected to reflect both modern development and local traditional aspects.
In what ways did you collaborate with others, and how did that add value to the project?
As a structural engineer, it is important to maintain the same imagination and borderless thinking as an architect. When everyone thinks a certain architectural solution is illusory, maybe there is a special way to achieve it, an innovative structural system or an infrequently used material, or mining complex computing power, etc.
What key lesson did you learn in the process of conceiving the project?
Construction is an important part of the process. The smooth design surface was not well achieved, and cracks appeared between the prefabricated FRP blocks.
How do you believe this project represents you or your firm as a whole?
‘Extend boundary of structures’ is our slogan. Creativity and rationality are two sides of a successful project. Unfortunately they are often opposites. In each project, we use rational creativity to make the impossible possible for architects. The gate is one of them.
How do you imagine this project influencing your work in the future?
This impossible building came to fruition, it was shortlisted and received commendation in Structural Awards 2019 (London), and we received more invitations for extreme projects.
Is there anything else important you’d like to share about this project?
The self-prestressed stuts can bear huge compress force, so columns could be very slender in future.
Client : Longfor; Architect : Weitu; Structural Design team : Xin Yuan and Chen Fei
For more information on The Gate of Chongqing Longhu Park, visit the in-depth project profile on Architizer.