This project starts with the urban area and the general plan design; The site is located in the middle of an urban strip park sandwiched between two river channels, Donghu Port (artificial channel) and Shahu Port (artificial channel) - this strip park connects the Yangtze River and East Lake, and has Wuhan high-speed rail station， Wuhan Iron and Steel in the area as well; The surrounding area of the original site is an old factory area and urban village, which has been upgraded to a high-density residential area in recent years; The sponge-like park is formed by two open channels.
The construction site is located on both sides of Tuanjie Avenue, with the main building of the park's tourist centre on the north side and the teaching area, dormitory area, office building, and outdoor activity area of the study centre on the south side. The design aims to create a sponge research and learning complex based on the sponge park.
On the east side of the venue is a Ming Dynasty ancient stone bridge: Beiyang Ancient Bridge; Starting from the site landmark of Beiyang Ancient Bridge, "bridge and connection" became a concept repeatedly emphasized in the scheme. The initial concept was that the connection between the north and south plots was achieved through a cross-street arc sky bridge. The gradient of the overpass is very gentle, which can continue the demand for greenway cycling in the north-south plots of the park. At the same time, this pedestrian overpass establishes a compositional connection between the building volumes on the north and south plots.
The different functions of the north and south plots lead to different block forms. The area of the north visitor center is not large, but it needs a huge volume that does not match the area to "settle the scene" for the park; After careful consideration, we gave it a non-standard quadrilateral shape that combines with the terrain. To reduce the building area, the central block was excavated to form an inward-facing circular plaza. Its negative space form has become the most recognizable aspect of the building.
The research and learning center on the south side is divided into three blocks, namely the teaching area, dormitory area, and office area; The teaching area is square, echoing the road and tourist center buildings on the north side, while the dormitory area is curvy, echoing the river channel on the east side and making concessions to the ancient bridge on the river channel; The square layout of the single-story building in the office area just gives a full stop to the arc, echoing the square shape of the visitor center and the teaching area, which can be regarded as a "call back" in spatial form.
The three parts of the building, combined with the cross-street skybridge, form a beautiful and smooth top-down relationship in the park based on the map; Finally, for various reasons, the cross-street skybridge is currently not under construction, but it does not hinder the integrity of the north-south volume.
The land parcel's overall terrain on the road's north side is relatively high; The south plot is basically flat, with a low-lying terrain facing the eastward river channel and a hilly hill formed by soil piles facing the south. We combined the terrain elevation difference and lowered the elevation of the first floor of the dormitory building near the ancient bridge to a position just above the flood level of the river channel, which is the same as the basement elevation of the teaching part. Therefore, the two-story dormitory area only shows the volume of the first floor on the elevation of the main road in the park - this building with the longest arc length shows a low-profile gesture of giving way to the ancient bridge.
The teaching part is a 10X10 square grid with 8400mm spacing between column grids, with three layers of homogeneous grids stacked on top of each other. By extracting local unit boxes, negative space courtyards and terraces are formed. The emergence of inner courtyards and terrace courtyards ensures the lighting, ventilation, and inward-facing views of each physical space, but also creates gaps between spaces, which are connected through stairs and trestles. We deliberately designed the roof into different and staggered elevation systems, forming a rich relationship of rooftop garden walking. It also provides a relationship between the viewer and the viewer during the walking process.
The ambiguous trestle, once again returning to the original starting point of the project's "bridge" concept - these stairs and trestles that connect different directions and elevations - are inspired by the painter Escher's painting "The Endless Staircase".
This project fits in with our consistent philosophy of architecture that starts from the concept of landscape, respects the site and nature, and designs buildings based on topographical and geographical conditions. It emphasizes the relationship between architecture and people, Architecture with landscape thinking is like ancient Chinese literati painting, where the landscape is always the protagonist and the architecture is just a supporting element. Respecting nature, natural landscapes exist above architecture.