设计单位 Wutopia Lab
“For a moment, nothing else matters.”
Wutopia Lab 在广东南海创造性基围水利工程，即桑基鱼塘生产方式的发端——桑园围上，创造的西樵山下的“涟漪”——南海区淡水鱼产业技术示范推广中心。该项目已于2023年4月落成开放。
In April 2023, Wutopia Lab inaugurated the Nanhai District Freshwater Fish Industry Technology Demonstration and Promotion Center. The center aimed to create "ripples" beneath the Xiqiao Mountain on the Mulberry Pond, which served as the origin of the mulberry-based fish pond production method in Nanhai, Guangdong.
▲ 项目视频 摄制：吴嗣铭
The "Ripple" is the fourth pavilion in the "YuGengYueYun" Comprehensive Pavilion Complex in Xiqiao Town, and it was the first completed building. It extends the concept of "Once a Vast Sea, now the field on clouds". However, I didn't want to repeat the cloud theme that had been used before. While unable to leave Shanghai, I repeatedly looked at the photos of the scene sent by Wu Gang. It was then that I noticed the ripples formed by the water spraying in the pond, with frothy edges. In that moment, I was mesmerized. I wanted to create a “ripple” on the soft soil by the edge of the pond, just like the one I had seen.
The construction costs were tight, so I designed the roof of the fourth Pavilion as a “ripple” while keeping the exhibition halls in a regular square combination to meet the exhibition needs. To create a visual contrast, I emphasized the roof and minimized the presence of the elevations, resolving the conflict between the curves and straight lines. The ripples serve as the dominant feature for the elevations, including the roof elevation. At the same time, I aimed for the building to have a floating ripple effect.
I don't want to imitate SANNA's extreme delicacy and lightness. I also don't want to emphasize the structure. "Metallic clouds obscure the sky, and they carry a huge weight in their mood". In June 2022, I had an epiphany where I wanted the ripple to appear more substantial while still creating a sense of tension through its floating effect. Initially, I designed the highest point of the roof at 3.5m, with the elevation height at 2.4m. This visually gave the impression that the roof rested upon the walls, asserting control over the elevation.
As for the ripples, the glass skylight in the center is divided into concentric contouring lines, forming five circles. The central height reaches a maximum of 3.5m and gradually decreases to 1.9m at the eaves. This design creates the appearance of a terrace or even resembles a cloud when viewed from above. This epiphany was inspired by the concept mentioned earlier in the first pavilion, "Once a Vast Sea, now the field of clouds."
The ripple may appear heavy, but it does not mean it is actually heavy. I dismissed the idea of a heavy, expensive, and labor-intensive concrete design. Instead, the roof boarding would be positioned at a height of 4m, with waterproofing, drainage, and insulation integrated within the layer. Between the roof boards and the interior ceiling, only structural and electrical systems would be present. The exhibition room's ceiling would be set at the same height to ensure compliance with the required 3.2m ceiling height for exhibitions.
To create a white and semi-translucent envelope, the surface of the ripples would be covered with 50x50x50Hx3 fluorocarbon-coated steel cladding. In contrast to the facade's heaviness, I aimed to provide a sense of "lightness" when viewing the accessible roof from a bird's-eye perspective. Each edge contour of the ripple would be covered with white aluminum panels. At the eaves, the joints would be spliced with GRC (Glass Reinforced Concrete) and coated with crack-resistant mortar, followed by a layer of cement paint to mimic the appearance of concrete, creating a seamless plane. This design emphasizes the purity of the ripple.
The first ripple appears heavy but is actually floating and accessible. However, once you are on top of it, you would feel nervous as it transforms into a ripple of lightness. This effect is an old architectural trick known as Baroque.
The owner wanted a quick and simplified construction process with low costs. To address the soft soil conditions of the site and prevent excessive settlement and tilting of the upper steel structure, the structural engineers utilized prestressed pipe piles, a well-established foundation method commonly used in soft soil areas of the Pearl River Delta.
Additionally, the pavilion floor was designed as a 250mm thick reinforced concrete raft slab with a double layer of reinforcing steel to enhance the structural integrity of the main steel frame and embedded column footings. This design allows the ripples, with a maximum projection of 7.8m, to appear gracefully suspended in the air, enabling the intended visual contrast between the weightiness of the rippled roof and its actual weightlessness.
To maintain the purity of the “ripple”, the rainwater pipes were hidden in the steel columns. For purity's sake, a 0.7mm thick aluminum plate was used as a lightning arrester at the eaves, connecting to the roof frame to form a lightning protection mesh, eliminating the need for unsightly lightning rods. In order to the purity of the “ripple”, maintained a local duct trench was reserved under the bottom plate, with an air outlet reserved when the ground plane was poured to ensure the integrity of the ceiling. The air outlet for the heat dissipation travels from the machine room through the roof, dissipating through the screening of the grilles. In order to the purity of the ripples, the skylight would be used as a natural exhaust window, so that the glazing of the façade could be laid out continually.
This is how the 666 m² exhibition hall has created a “fuss”, through creating a floating “ripple” under the Xiqiao Mountain.
When my college friend Wu Gang contacted me, Shanghai had just come out of pandemic lockdowns. Feeling somewhat uneasy, I had no grand speeches and didn't want to dwell too much. My decision was quick and simple. The trendy jargon in architecture didn't matter. I wanted to use architecture as a means to create an earth art : white, translucent, symbolic, metaphorical, juxtaposed, and Baroque. Ultimately, they merged into a dramatic image with some of my emotions embedded in it, and that was enough. “All those years of training and critical thinking, and in the end, it was incredibly easy. “
“You can’t imagine how beautiful that place is, even just the way the sun hits the ground is different from here.”