The White Crane Lake locates in Yingtan, Jiangxi Province, with a water area of 10 square kilometers. The Visitor Center is the core part of the White Crane Lake's tourism development. The challenge is how to place a modern building in an environment with mountains and lakes, which not only to meet practical functions, but also to harmonize coexists with nature, melted in the forest, nestled beside the lake.
the architect’s intuition and experience came into play and a general design approach was decisively determined. Rather than overtly associating with the local residential architectural style or excessively emphasizing traditional materials and methods of construction, the new building would instead accentuate the natural qualities and atmosphere of the site of White Crane Lake itself.
The site locates on the shore of the lake, with a bamboo forest on the east. In the early morning before the sun rises, the lake is covered with clouds and mist, which are dispersed into the bamboo forest. Strolling in the forest, people enjoy themselves as if they are flying up in the sky. In response to these phenomena, the designers proposed the design concept of "Bamboo Clouds by the water", which integrates the four site elements of water, shore, bamboo and clouds, to architecturally express it.
In order to minimize the sense of intervention in the environment, the building volume adopts a decentralized layout with curves to soften the relationship with the environment. The decentralized volume cuts down people's perception of the scale of the building, and visitors can't see the whole building at a glance. The spreading building volume seems to flow with the environment, and people's view and footsteps move along with it. With every step, the scenery changes, unfolding like a scroll on the surface of the lake.
The designer choose a transparent glass volume to intervene in the environment, and then introduce a second layer of "bamboo skin". The skin floats up and down around the building, like the wings of a white crane, or like a leisurely bamboo cloud on the waterfront. The continuous skin integrates separate building volumes, giving them the appearance of continuity and integration with nature.
The form of the woven “bamboo skin” was developed according to an analytical design process: first, the defining line of the building’s envelope was established according to programmatic and formal considerations. Following this, secondary points along the envelope were chosen as a basis for the undulations of the skin, according to the building’s functions and the particular view of the landscape at each point – resulting in the semblance of a floating bamboo cloud from the exterior, and ensuring the best possible views from the interior public spaces.
In the process of developing the final form and texture of the woven “bamboo skin”, the architect conducted a series of schematic explorations, looking at various potential patterns which could be incorporated. In the end, the lightest option was chosen for its clear, translucent quality, and practical feasibility as a “woven” texture for the building’s skin.
材料 & 构造
Extensive consultations regarding the building skin were made with both the client and suppliers, while significant on-site testing was also conducted in order to ensure durability and the desired visual and tactile effect. In the end, the designer finally decided to adopt a special surface-treated metal alloy, which provides a robust material with a strong resemblance to natural bamboo. Although it does not possess the tactile qualities and soft touch of natural bamboo, it was chosen for its long-term viability, ease of maintenance, and overall cost. For a modestly scaled public building, it was deemed to be the best solution by all parties involved.
The skin is composed of a diamond-shaped grid which serves as a base layer, and a densely interspersed woven layer, which is supported by a series of curved galvanized steel pipes. The curvature of each steel pipe corresponds to the curvature of the skin. The pipes are vertically spaced at 1500mm intervals to ensure visual consistency of the curtain wall. Through the careful combination of controlling the number of grid nodes and a completely manual weaving process to ensure a degree of randomness, the final result successfully achieves the "bamboo cloud" effect that the architect had imagined from the outset.
A comprehensive lighting system has been integrated into the building’s outer skin, so that when the sun goes down and darkness sets in, the complex external latticework brilliantly lights up. The building appears to shine, recalling a bamboo lantern floating on the lake, creating a visually memorable scene for visitors to the site.
In the courtyard enclosed by the building volume and a series of elevated walkways, the architect has carefully placed a spiral staircase: it allows visitors to ascend to the second-floor viewing platform from ground level, but also provides a strong visual focus for the courtyard space overall. Its concentric circular steps with changing radii and variegated side railing create a dynamic, complex shape which provides a creative tension with the other elements of the space.
A borderless pool has been incorporated into the roof terrace on the second floor, which has been designed so that the surface of its water seems to blend with the distant blues of the lake and sky beyond when looking over and across it.
The decentralized volume of the building corresponds to different functions, including a general reception lobby, restaurant, multi-purpose hall, VIP clubhouse. The reception hall locates in the southwest side with the best accessibility. The northwest side with the lake view is used for catering. The VIP club is arranged on the top floor to maximize the landscape value of the lake.
The designers took on the architecture as a kind of poetic imagination. With the design concept of "bamboo clouds by the water", the new building is gently integrated with the surrounding mountains and forests, and becomes a part of nature seamlessly. The cloud and mist that rise from the lake in the early morning are transformed into an edifice which sseems to hang in the air. Instead, the building becomes floating clouds of bamboo on the shore.