Shouan Town is a famous historic and cultural town in Chengdu, located in the northwest of Wenjiang District. As a tourism town in Sichuan Province, Shouan Town is a core area of the national ecological demonstration zone. The ancient courtyard-style building complex constructed with traditional Western Sichuan folk houses and Linpan, provides the foundation for local tourism. As the development of tourism industry expands continuously in the periphery, various tourism resources and services such as international sculpture, flower and wood weaving art, restaurants and accommodations, are being optimized gradually. At the end of 2019, MUDA-Architects received the entrustment from the owner to design an osmanthus thematic exhibition hall in Minjiang Village which sits in the periphery area of Shouan Town to build a diversified natural ecological exhibition space integrating flower planting exhibition center, business conference center, township training center and related merchandise sales.
The project is located in Minjiang Village with an approximate distance of 4.5km away from the central area of Shouan Town, which could be accessed by vehicles in about 10 minutes. The site is surrounded by lush vegetation with abundant natural resources in a superior ecological environment. The harmonious coexistence with the context needs to be considered due to the irregular boundaries of the site. Some of the original trees are preserved to highlight the local characteristics of inherent culture. By using modern aesthetic techniques, the design would combine with the natural environment to explore multiple forms of space and create a unique rustic exhibition space.
Western Sichuan folk dwelling is one of the schools of traditional folk house, which stresses the harmony between nature and human based on the consideration of ecological environment. As the materials are sourced from local in a corresponding approach, most of the dwellings are built with wood, lime, gray brick, gray tile and slate. Secondly, in order to adapt to the hot and humid climate, most of the residential buildings are constructed with timber frames and tenons, a pitched roof and thin fascia boards, which creates a spacious layout with better visual connections and makes the building more delicate. The design utilizes the roof forms and materials of traditional Sichuan folk dwellings, and intervenes in modern aesthetic techniques inspired by art works to abstract deformation. Thus the small exhibition hall is formed concisely as an innovative sculptural architecture with great tension.
Since the site appears as an irregular triangle, a free spiral line is designed to fill the whole plot to determine the building plan, and then it is stretched vertically to form a simple and unique space. People are naturally drawn into the building like flowing water due to the trend of spiral. The whole space is narrow at the top, while it is wide at the bottom to bring more tension to the structure. The bottom end of the spiral structure is slightly upturned, forming a relatively public retail space on the ground floor. Directed by a gentle ramp, visitors could slowly reach the first floor which can be functioned as a relatively independent space for exhibition, conferences and etc. The interior staircase reaches to the rooftop with a viewing platform directly, providing tourists a panoramic view. Through natural curling and artistic processing, the building creates open and enclosed spaces which are integrated into a whole multi-functional space by continuous wall and roof. Moreover, the entire roof is built with steel-work and sheathed by slates sourced from local. At the same time, the external facade is devised with scattered openings, and the natural light is introduced through the skylight on the rooftop. Modernity and locality are creatively interpreted by breaking the conventional approach with the contemporary theory and the adoption of local materials.
With art aesthetics as a core and the practice of creating a diversified exhibition space, MUDA-Architects introduces peculiar culture into the architecture by a combination of indigenous material, culture and traditional techniques, adjusts the proposal according to the superior ecological resources to show the respects to nature.