Zhujiajiao Tourist Center is located on the west-north corner of Zhujiajiao old town, which is a historical conservation area in Qingpu District, Shanghai. The site is also a cross-boundary between historical area and new town developed in past twenty years. The context of the project therefore is twofold: on one hand, local historical feature of the old town, and spatial condition of a new urban environment on the other hand. How to response to such a context, it is the start point of design thinking for the new building.
The roof made by metal cladding system is given the colour of dark gray and the shape of ramp roof to achieve the building regulation of historical area. To reduce the scale of the new building, the ramp roof is transformed to a composition of two triangle parts.
The building of tourist center has two floors. The ground floor, mainly used as an information center and public lavatory for visitors, is enclosed by glass curtain wall. Transparent surfaces present a kind of publicity, create a friendly interface towards street and outside space, and also bring natural light into the interior.
The first floor is used as offices of tourist management and service. The form of overhanging timber frame brings the building an identity which is not only visual, but also a material and technological conversation with those historical buildings in the old town, whose facades are always featured by timer windows, doors, planks and components.
The tourist center is closed to Kezhiyuan Road. Facing to the street, an overhanging volume expands forward to identify a covered entrance space. In comparison with an open field, the feature drawn by the low density of new town, this covered space brings a chance to visitors to leave an experience about the place. The gable wall of overhanging volume is permeated, with grating panels covered by mirror-polished stainless steel. Light flows into the empty volume, mirrors reflect the surrounding scene. The entrance space becomes a joint point between architecture and urban space.
The information center provides services like tickets, tour guide, lounge, gift store etc. A strip of skylight window is set on the overhead of information desk to bring natural light, and make the interior more comfortable. The public lavatory is designed following the 3A standard of tourist toilet, with an independent washing place, family lavatory and baby care room. Skylights are also introduced into the toilet rooms to give visitors a better experience inside.
The design of Zhujiajiao Tourist Center aims to response to historical and cultural context of the old town, but also pay attention to the experience of placelessness, as a general production of rapid development of suburb new town, and try to make a contribution to the reconstruction of the place.