Jiuzhaigou Visitor Service Facilities is located at the entrance of the Jiuzhai Valley National Park, within the Jiuzhaigou World Heritage Site. The project consists of a series of constructions, including the Visitor Transport Centre, International Communication Centre, Intelligence Management Centre, Exhibition Centre, the Lingka (the transliteration of "garden" from Tibetan), etc. It becomes a new landmark in the area and provides comprehensive tourism support, as well as intelligent scenic spot management, for up to a maximum capacity of 41,000 tourists from all over the world per day after the earthquake.
As a post-earthquake reconstruction project, the design team worked closely with experts in the landscape, engineering, ecology, tourism planning, etc. to record and evaluate site conditions after the quake as the basis for protection and renewal.
The project explores how artificial construction can accommodate natural scenic spots. It achieves the exact requirements of multifarious tourism functions and remains the natural order of the original environment in a world heritage site. The general aerodynamic architectural language blows the narrow triangular site smoothly , congealing the visitor centre with a sprawling and smooth curved form, which spatially echoes surrounding mountains through the continuous terrain guidance and its structural shape. The project gives a new expression of ‘landform architecture’ of a dynamic building complex, meanwhile which is deeply rooted in the indigenous culture with local characteristic input. Its prefabricated construction process ensures a minimized environmental impact on the area.
To weaken the building volume and minimize the environmental impact, the design makes use of the original topography of the site. In consideration of the original 6m height difference between the scenic spot and the site, a platform is created and a low-layer space below is enclosed, which makes a gentle connection between the transportation area and the entrance square matching the two original elevations separately.
One of the key problems to be addressed is to reduce the previous cross-congestion problem of vehicles and pedestrians. Instead of a general solution to the traffic problem of building a huge underground car park, this project solves the traffic problem through comprehensive planning of the regional transportation system. It makes full use of the towns nearby and public spaces to provide parking service and guides visitors either walking to the visitor transport center by the way of Lingka with an interesting natural experience, or transferring public transport to the three-minute drop-off area and finally reaching the visitor transport centre. In this way, it not only provides satisfactory services for tourists within the limited space and reduces the environmental impact of construction, but also promotes the tourism and the business of surrounding towns.
Elevated bridges are set up at vehicle congestion points to form three-dimensional traffic and a three-minute drop-off area is established to achieve fast entry and exit to the square. In addition, a vertical two-layer roundabout with a tourism transfer area respectively is designed in conjunction with the ticket gate. This allows transfers to take place on two diﬀerent floors at the same time efficiently and thus greatly reduces congestion between the transfer area and the entrance to the park.
Parametric design technology is applied for a combination of local features and modern techniques. The awning at the entrance is cleverly shaped to associate with the Jiuzhaigou eye-like logo, which plays as a symbol of Jiuzhai valley. It is currently the largest cross-bearing glulam wood structure in China with a span of 38 metres. Based on consideration of environmental performance, an approach to wood as a traditional building material is made with modern innovation and optimization. Another awning with a massive span of 41 metres above the Tourist Transport Square is sealed by two curved steel beams, combined with the glulam beam of the Fermat spiral division.
To reduce the number of columns and optimise the efficiency of space use, around 6000㎡ space under the platform is formed by 36 branch-like columns. Each of them has six continuous arches connecting others as the arch structure which presents better space effect and mechanical properties.
Traditional materials and architectural techniques of Jiuzhaigou Tibetan, such as the slate tile, the patterned stone wall, timber structure, etc., are applied to both interior and exterior details. Therefore, tourists can not only experience a gentle transition space before entry and exiting the national park, but also a distinctive space full of local culture.
The landscape architecture follows Tibetan traditional Ling-ka principles, hoping to generate emotional resonance with the rich natural and cultural treasure of Jiuzhaigou, which could be essential for its continuing protection and thriving. All existing pine trees have been carefully protected. They give precious shelter during summer from strong sunlight and radiation in the plateau climate. A grading network including mani walls built using local craftsmanship is designed to accommodate existing trees at their original elevation, connect smoothly with the entrance square and enrich the walking experience.
In the north of the Lingka, the giant flag tent with massive scale and mysterious atmosphere inherit the Tibetan naturalism-religious identity. Immersed in the tent under deep cliffs, one could feel the air, water and people flow in and out with flags fluttering, bells ringing, water rippling, flowers blooming, and birds singing. The hidden cosmic movement mysteriously shaped the land unveils itself on the flags. The ground could also be emptied of water, thus becoming a venue for various festivals and events.
For the difficulty of balancing artificial interruption and the natural environment, the general idea of nightscape lighting is to highlight the curved architecture organically and its tension of rising and falling with the landscape by the combination of transmitted lighting and cast lighting, called ‘Dynamic Moonlight’ and ‘Wind Breeze Moonlight’. Soft light overflows the landform architecture through glass, while moonlight is simulated by various cast lighting to blend in the surroundings. It can be obtained with intelligent control.
This project has been awarded the "Three-star Green Building Design" and gold certification under LEED by reasonably planning rainwater runoff, improving the efficiency of heat and cooling sources, reducing carbon emissions, etc. Referring to the ASHRAE 90.1-2010, the building’s annual energy consumption saves up to 18.9%.