West Mountain Innovation Valley – West Mountain Innovation Valley, also called Beijing Collaborative Innovation Park, is one of of the Three-Hundred Key Projects of 2021 in Beijing. CAA is responsible for the planning and architectural design of the whole project. At present, the construction of the north plot in Phase I, which is the largest building group, has officially started and is expected to be completed in 2024.
Architizer chatted with Liu Haowei, Founder of CAA Architects, to learn more about this project.
Architizer: What inspired the initial concept for your design?
Liu Haowei: In Beijing, at the foot of West Mountain, facing such an area endowed with rich natural resources, we formed a dialogue between the architectural forms of mountains, courtyards and settlements and the rolling West Mountain to create an open, green and innovative future city integrating with nature and technology, which is called West Mountain Innovation Valley.
What do you believe is the most unique or ‘standout’ component of the project?
The overall environment of Beijing Collaborative Innovation Park is mountainous and undulated, which complements the West Mountain, gathering natural and cultural elements, and flexibly superimposes the architectural form and courtyard enclosed space. I proposed the design concepts of West Mountain, North Courtyard and East Creak, which not only endowed the three blocks with unique architectural form and rich rhythm, but also integrated into one, creating a Natural Landscape scroll of mountains and rivers, courtyards, settlements, and fields.
What was the greatest design challenge you faced during the project, and how did you navigate it?
CAA Architects have a lot of experience in the field of medium and small scale architecture. Beijing Collaborative Innovation Park is the first time for CAA team to control the whole process of a super-large scale building group, which is undoubtedly the biggest challenge. Through professional and meticulous management, we have realized the orderly cooperation between architecture, planning, landscape, interior and other disciplines, and finally realized the scheduled implementation of the project. The super-large scale means a long cycle of the project. How to deal with all kinds of adverse factors that may cause slow construction in the development process of the project has become another challenge. With the accumulation of past work and the high professionalism of the team, CAA has successfully dealt with this challenge since the project development.
How did the context of your project — environmental, social or cultural — influence your design?
The West Mountain in Beijing has given the most important regional characteristics of the project. At the same time, it is located at the important special node of ecological protection and urbanization, which also provides new possibilities for planning and architectural design. CAA takes this as a clue, abandons the high-density and rigid urban forest form, integrates the traditional Chinese courtyards with natural landscapes, and the architectural form follows the natural pattern to outline the mountain curves like mountains and peaks. The design techniques of landscape and architectural language complement each other, and the mutual penetration and organic connection with the surrounding urban landscape create a green three-dimensional garden.
What is your favorite detail in the project and why?
I like the design of building facade most, which is inspired by the Chinese cultural landscape painting “Dwelling in Fuchun Mountain” providing with different design details of the exterior facades for the three blocks in the West, North and East. Through the use of digital and green energy-saving technology, compared with different brushwork stroking in landscape painting, the natural image of mountain, water and cloud integration are constituted the so-called Between Water and Cloud. The different details of the facade create a sense of lightness and transparency of each building, and give a maximum indoor comfort and lighting. At the same time, the buildings of different forms penetrate each other visually, forming an overall landscape picture.
How important was sustainability as a design criteria as you worked on this project?
It’s very important. The standard green space rate of the project is as high as 30%. Through the introduction of natural landscape, a more green and low-carbon environment is created to achieve sustainable development. At the same time, the “Ring of Mountains and Waters” will build an urban slow traffic ring corridor that runs through the entire park, connecting the green landscapes of all plots, and extending to form a larger green health network. Then, by using high-performance glass curtain wall, external sun shading shutter curtain wall components and other technical means, we will jointly achieve the highest level of 3-star Green Building Standards in China.
In what ways did you collaborate with others, and how did that add value to the project?
From architecture to structure, to Green Building, then to industrial planning, we have invited experts and consultants in all professional fields to achieve the professionalism of the project at all levels.
Were any parts of the project dramatically altered from conception to construction, and if so, why?
No. From design to construction, the concept has been well continued, maintaining our original design intention, that is, the integration of city, nature and culture.
How have your clients responded to the finished project?
The project consists of three blocks, the North Courtyard is about to be completed, and the construction of West Mountain will also be started. So far, the feedback from the client is satisfactory.
What key lesson did you learn in the process of conceiving the project?
It integrates with natural environment and cultural environment, reflecting openness, green and wisdom.
How do you believe this project represents you or your firm as a whole?
This project has triggered CAA team leap thinking on spatial scale and dimension, breaking the only normal replication way of traditional industrial parks and buildings, putting the integration of Futurism and Oriental Humanistic Spirit into practice, actively creating social value and influence, and combining the development trend of city, nature, humanities and scientific and technological innovation to build a three-dimensional city garden and realize the future urban vision of multi-dimensional superposition of nature, science and technology.
How do you imagine this project influencing your work in the future?
Beijing Collaborative Innovation Park is the first project with a large scale which the team has controlled in the whole process. Such a large-scale building cluster is bound to include the design of architecture, interior, landscape and other disciplines. How to successfully deploy and cooperate with various professional departments through management is the biggest harvest of this project experience and will also affect our future works. It is also the future goal of the team to continuously reflect the professionalism of the team in projects of super large, large, medium and small sizes and scales, and to achieve the completion of high-quality works.
Host Architect: Liu Haowei; Technical Director: Leo Dy·Aojima, Miriam Llorente; Project Manager: Zhang Pan, Rachel Luo, Tang Xiaojing; Design Team: Ye Wenjie, Edward Ednilao, Zhao Xingyun, Joseph Kahaya, Vicky Chen, Zhu Ying, Yan Jianxin, Deng Haibo, Yang Jing, Liu Hongliang, Charles Jiang, Cassie Cai, Luo Yuhang, Shen Ao, Xiao Peng, Su Lide
Architecture Consulting Engineer: Wang Dongchun; Structure Consulting Engineer: Wang Changxing; Industrial Planning Consultant: Beijing Urban Construction Design & Development Group Creative Center of Planning and Research Institute; Curtain Wall Consultant: China Construction & Architecture Technology Co., Ltd (CCAT) ; Green Building Consultant: Beijing ShiChuangXinCheng Energy-Saving Technology Co., Ltd; Business Planning Consultant: Beijing JiaYiHuXiao Business Management Co., Ltd
Products / Materials
white gradually-colored glazed glass; anodized aluminum plate
For more on West Mountain Innovation Valley / Beijing Collaborative Innovation Park, please visit the in-depth project page on Architizer.