If you have to compare the Pearl River New Town in Guangzhou to the high-end apartments around Central Park in New York, Ersha Island in Guangzhou must be Long Island in New York. For Guangzhou, which has one of the highest population densities, Ersha Island is permeated with different vibes: noble and elegant, romantic and leisurely with beautiful and pleasant scenery. Ersha Island is located on the Pearl River in the center of Guangzhou City, surrounded by the river, boasting picturesque natural scenery. In the minds of many people in Guangzhou, Ersha Island will always be a paradise for the rich. On this tiny island, the surging Pearl River around the island is like a high fence, quietly wiping off the island from the daily life of most Guangzhou people. The lack of transportation facilities and functional diversity as well as the private nature of the land make this once dazzling pearl gradually become a really isolated urban island.
The site on No.1 Qingbo Road, Ersha Island faces the Pearl River on one side and the world's second tallest tower Canton Tower on the other. On one side, there are hundreds of millions of luxury houses with high walls and deep courtyards; while on the other are Xinghai Concert Hall and Guangdong Art Museum, which are famous cultural landmarks in Guangzhou. For a long time, many people call this site the last pearl of Ersha Island. Now, after several years of planning, the design of Qingbo Road No.1 on Ersha Island, presided over by Fei Architects, has finally been unveiled. Ersha Island Man Lap Fong, which integrates urban diversified cultural life, art museum life aesthetics, recreation and entertainment, fashion brand and food culture, eventually ushers in its opening to the public, which marks the transformation of Ersha Island from a single-function and relatively exclusive private garden to a public city parlor. Art and life blend with each other, and all kinds of possibility takes place here from now on.
Man Lap Fong is a complex with an area of 22550 square meters, 1 underground floor and 5 floors above the ground. Obviously, the architect did not follow the traditional design mode of closed commercial premises, but decided from the beginning to make Man Lap Fong a public parlor of Ersha Island and even the whole Guangzhou, providing Guangzhou citizens with a real public space in which they can meet, party, learn and practice various daily activities.
Today, the closed building complex model is mainly applied to the type of large shopping malls, which defines the internal and external boundaries between private and public space through gates/guards and impenetrable building facades, and establishes a discriminatory commercial space environment of isolation, exclusion and division. Most enclosed building complexes offer very restricted uses and oppressive spatial experiences. They lack porosity and contact points and as a result, fail to produce the endless vitality and warmth between neighbors in traditional street life. Based on above consideration, architects put the walking space in the interior of the building on the outer edge of the building, which is contrary to the traditional design paradigm of the corridor around the atrium. The architect broke the convention that the street must be on the ground, expanded the concept of street and extended the street to the air corridor from the ground to form a continuously twisted three-dimensional city street. Moreover, various activities and events were interwoven into this huge three-dimensional street network, creating a common street settlement for people from different walks of life.
In Man Lap Fong, three-dimensional streets are the most important type of public space, which are street settlements for daily activities and exchanges of people from different walks of life. This three-dimensional street mobilizes a functional matrix of connective voxels. This function matrix not only connects people, objects and various spaces, but also organizes a dynamic process and daily events throughout them. When people stroll along the corridor layers about one kilometer long attached to the facade of the Man Lap Fong building, they can not only conduct street talks, alley visits and various informal activities, but also appreciate the scenes of Pearl River New Town when looking from different angles from Man Lap Fong: one side is the most beautiful city, while the other side is the warmest daily life.
In this project, the whole curved facade of the building is soft and tensile, but the change of specific details has a poetic presentation. The flower base outside the building also adopts this wave element, which can not only become a chair for citizens to rest, but also retain the overall beauty and harmony of the building.
The concept of three-dimensional street comes from the most traditional type of street in Guangzhou - Guangzhou Qilou Street. By rediscovering the spirit of arcade street life in Guangzhou, the architects tried to design a new spatial organization model of the building complex in the Man Lap Fong project on Ersha Island. This model specifically explores a coherent neighborhood form (streets, buildings and open space) and its visible/invisible relationship (uncertain events and human activities) of Qilou Street in Guangzhou, through which a new management model of building complex space is proposed to alleviate the increasingly marginal status of Ersha Island. In the design of Man Lap Fong, the architect borrowed the spirit rather than the shape of Qilou Street, trying to reproduce the tradition in modern language. Only in the south, especially in Guangzhou, the space management mode of arcade will be so important. All activities - family and community, private and public - can take place on arcade streets: playing cards, running, cooking, eating, working, watching TV, having meetings, drinking tea, chatting and selling.
The facade of Man Lap Fong building is not a flat flowing space for customers to shop and consume in the traditional sense, but a thickening space for various events and activities - a three-dimensional street. The charm of Man Lap Fong’s architectural space lies in that it can create infinite possibilities and provide different services, activities and functions for different groups of people in different time periods. In this sense, the space of Man Lap Fong’s facade is walking space, working space, production space, communication space, commercial space as well as an artistic space to show various real daily life and social activities. Making Man Lap Fong a “public parlor” belonging to all people is the original intention of the architect's design. The streets of Man Lap Fong are innovative, dynamic, changing layer by layer, as well as serving as inclusive and public markets.
材料：波浪陶板（广州市美帝建筑系统科技有限公司 Meady Building System Technology Co. Ltd.）
翻译：程倩 Elina Cheung