Located at the river bend area of Yarlung Tsangpo River in Tibet, Medog Meteorological Center (MMC) is surrounded by mountain ranges and dense forests within canyons. As the last region to be reached by highway system in China, Medog is known as a primordial town that is isolated from the rest of the world, both socially and culturally. The construction of MMC became significantly challenging due to undeveloped construction skills and techniques, limited numbers of heavy machinery, small selection of local building materials, etc.
Consisting of the administrative office and staff dormitory, MMC is conceived as enclosed courtyard with permeable interface, serving as a hybrid building for the local meteorological bureau. The undulating roof mimics the movements of rolling hills, while responding to the climate need of providing drainage system. The building established a harmonious dialogue with the natural surroundings. Elevated ground level that is inherited from the vernacular architecture optimizes the pedestrian experience and facilitates the natural ventilation. A rhythmic façade is accentuated by carefully placed fenestration. A series of voids within the building were introduced to optimize the spectacular views towards the canyon.
The architect learned from the local traditional architecture to accommodate environmental and cultural needs : using local pinewood and prefabricated, elevating the ground floor, providing masonry structural supports, and applying sloped roof system to overcome issues in rainy seasons. The building façade also features a hand-craft stucco pattern, adapting to the texture and enriching its local characteristics.
MMC is intended not only as an administrative workplace, it is also designed as a civic place for the local people to gather and interact. The design and materiality pay tribute to the local ethnic culture, blending the vernacular architecture with modern architectural elements, creating a contemporary building sensitive to local culture and tectonic tradition.