Under the background of advocating the construction of a service-oriented government, along with the change of public demand and the transformation of the role of the government, building types such as the Civic center, the Convenience Service Center, and the Administrative Culture Center have emerged in succession. As an open administrative management service facility, the government service building is not only the external window for the government to carry out related businesses, but also the spatial link connecting public life. It integrates services, offices, exhibitions, leisure and other diverse functions are integrated, while also implying the possibility of stimulating urban endogenous power. This service center, rooted in the undulating mountains, has been telling the story of its exploration of the return of public values since it stood still in the bustling streets - pouring humanistic care into the grassroots, integrating diverse and comprehensive service functions, a nd realizing the shared demands of multiple subjects.
The Ciqikou Service Center is an important project for the upgrading of the "Geleshan Ciqikou Scenic Area" in Chongqing. It is also an important place for the Ciqikou Management Committee (subdistrict) to work internally and provide external services. It integrates functions such as service, office, display, and communication, and will also become a "urban living room" open to citizens in the future. The site is located in the core area of Shapingba District, which is an important traffic node on the east side of Ciqikou Ancient Town, setting with the green mountains on the north, and is the former site of Fenghuang Mountain and silk spinning factory warehouse; Next to the water on the south, is the Qingshui Creek Park under construction.
The land is a localized tableland in an irregular "concave" shape, with a height difference of about 6m from east to west and about 14m from north to south. The total land area is 5635㎡. Looking around, elements such as ancient towns, green mountains, streams, factories, and residences rush into view. The traces of artificial and natural integration, accompanied by changes in time and space, together endow the site with a real and vibrant temperament, outlining the fireworks of life. But at the same time, these traces also make subsequent designs have to face many challenges from both inside and outside the venue.
On one side is the mountainous space shrouded in greenery and the riverbank, while on the other side is the imprint of the past life. How to depict an appropriate and appropriate architectural image under limited site conditions; How to create comfortable indoor and outdoor space under the basis of meeting Functional requirement; How to stimulate the diverse experience and open spirit of architecture while adapting to the surrounding environment are the topics that run through the entire project.
As a former porcelain manufacturing center and industrial birthplace, artificial traces and natural landscapes have been preserved here to this day, intertwined as material carriers to record the rise and fall of the site. The inherent characteristics of the site are not only questions that need to be answered, but also often contain many answers for reference, which become the entry point and breakthrough point in design.
Faced with the constraints of site and function, compared to a complete and massive building, we prefer the building to stand on the mountain in a relaxed posture and engage in dialogue with it. As a result, the service center is vertically divided into three parts to meet various environmental demands: a stepped base integrated into the mountain at the bottom, combined with thick rubble walls, deconstructs some of the volume. Looking at this five story building from afar across the Qingshui River, it is imperceptible to be tall and abrupt, which is implicit; The double-floor geometric volume supported by a glass body on the upper part stands still like a sculpture, attracting the attention of the people passing by the Jiaoyuan Road, which is explicit; The single-floor glass body and structural columns, which are retracted in the middle, serve as carriers to tightly connect the upper and lower parts. From a distance, the building's shape resembles a stilted house leaning against a mountain, implying a connection with traditional prototypes. Between the explicit and the implicit, the architecture and the mountain are intertwined, achieving a more concise and suitable volume, anchoring the building into the environment.
Traditional government service buildings often emphasize their grave role in the city with a "prototype" of axis symmetry, square stability, and massive scale, while the Ciqikou Service Center tries to break through it. It is not limited to the existing "iconic" image, nor blindly pursues the solemn and grand "orthogonality, symmetry" composition. The interface connecting the north side of Jiaoyuan Road seamlessly connects with the city, accompanied by changes in location and direction. The simple gray walls and appropriately protruding eaves, along with the extended folding canopy, hollow blue brick and flower walls, and deep gray metal grilles, present a concave and convex visual effect together. Through the large area of ground glass on the first floor, one can see the distant Gele Mountain and urban landscape unfolding slowly inside the building like a scroll of paintings. At the same time, the partially concave window sash avoids the disturbance of the appearance when opened, reflecting the layered thinking of the design from the whole to the details.
On the other side of the building, it is completely different. The folded staircase next to the Guosheng Bridge winds down, with one side covered with dense rubble walls, and the other side providing an opportunity for a deep dialogue with nature. The bottom base, which twists along with the mountain, is welded together with a straight and concise volume, nested with diagonally protruding white boxes, and paired with a lightweight glass curtain wall. The relationship between emptiness and reality, coarseness and delicacy, and lightness and heaviness is like the antithesis in literature, not opposing each other, but forming a more organic whole.
If the mountainous environment is the main clue to the evolution of design, then the appropriate volume space is the answer we need to find. The buildings are laid out along the mountain, naturally forming a gradually falling volume. The three floor platforms with elevations of -0.15m, -5.55m, and -10.05m allow the originally homogeneous and single space to progress in the upper floor of the vertical dimension, connecting with the stairs and platforms on both sides to form a three-dimensional and continuous external viewing path.
In the midst of it, people are able to perceive and capture the surrounding scenery, or walk and shuttle between the stairs that change with the turning of the mountain, inspiring spatial associations about past climbing slopes and ridges; Or stop and gaze towards the south railing on the roof platform of the second floor, feeling the gentle breeze caressing freely, as if enveloped in nature; Or gaze at the elevated platform shrouded in the sunset, and the ancient town stands out in a relaxed posture. The multi-level path system and changing scenery not only create a thought-provoking spatial atmosphere, but also provide people living in the bustling city with a unique and peaceful viewing experience that is far from the hustle and bustle.
This organic path system takes into account the rationality of the movement line in addition to building a spatial experience of moving scenery. The crowd can reach four different levels of elevation through the outdoor platform: the open entrance square provides clear guidance for the flow of people on Jiaoyuan Road; The folding stairways connects the crowd passing through the Guosheng Bridge, and the set-back model diverts visitors to the first to second floors; The overhead volume on the west side is not only the entrance to the office area, but also provides a shelter for passersby to stay and rest.
The Ciqikou Service Center, located in a undulating environment, not only presents a natural trend of living in mountainous areas, but also intentionally introduces distant landscapes and light to create a flowing and interconnected indoor and outdoor public space. This is not only a continuation of the design's respect for mountainous handling techniques, but also a true expression of the building's deep response to the site.
In recent years, various comprehensive and "one-stop" administrative service organizations have emerged, and their focus has gradually shifted from excessive attention to image to consideration of multiple functional requirement. The design of Ciqikou Service Center is the practice of this concept. Compared to the deliberately arranged grand square, people's spontaneous behavior and urban life are more impressive. Therefore, we hope that architecture can serve as a new chapter in awakening public life, allowing diverse civic activities to be written here.
The multiple outdoor public spaces clearly demonstrate the main purpose of the Ciqikou Service Center being open to the public, encouraging the exploration of surrounding citizens with a more friendly and peaceful attitude. The staircase space and roof platform at the eastern end are intertwined, providing citizens with morning exercises and gatherings in their spare time, as well as serving as a stage for watching and showcasing; The stacked retreats attract residents who stroll along the waterfront in summer evenings, bringing them unexpected encounters and conversations while roaming; The children after school are hiding and chasing by the stairs on the rooftop platform，and so on. For citizens living here, the Ciqikou Service Center is essentially more like a daily activity venue and an open service platform. It carries the vision of public life, tells the story of integrating into daily experiences, internalizes into inclusive and diverse spiritual anchors, and changes people's understanding of government buildings.
Looking back at the design, the external form and spatial relationship have already laid the groundwork for the internal functional layout. The main functions of the service center are arranged in floors according to the strength of public attributes to maximize spatial efficiency. The public service halls, party and mass service centers on the first to negative second floors are all arranged facing the water bank, and the bright and spacious hall eliminates the need for staff to be confined to enclosed work compartments. The independent Lecture hall on the east mezzanine has made subsidence treatment (-1.50m) to eliminate the height difference change of the external site. The space conversion from the first floor to the first floor is completed through the gentle folded staircase in the northeast corner, which not only breaks the restriction of horizontal slicing, but also produces the space effect of dramatic turning changes.
The nearly 7m high trapezoidal atrium dominates the office space on the second and third floors. The continuous glass interface is like a landscape frame open to the sky, capturing the light and landscape unreservedly to the interior, and combining with the opening of window sashes, creating a comfortable and healthy energy-saving indoor environment. The corridor of three floor surrounds the atrium and connects various functional areas, forming a relaxed and orderly internal transportation system; The partially cantilevered conference room interrupts the walkway on the plane, further bringing a sense of winding and secluded space; The large steps on the west side are the best place to relax and communicate. Here, people can travel, stay, and interact in these undefined composite spaces to meet the demands of managing office space, thereby encouraging people to explore more possibilities of space.
When we received the design commission, we not only marveled at the complexity of the mutual constraints in the venue, but also looked forward to truly creating a service place full of inclusiveness and humanistic care for the citizens. Several on-site inspections, exposure to mountainous waterfront, experiencing changes in spring and summer, and recording daily life in the city. The Ciqikou Service Center is an attempt by us to break through the traditional "prototype" of government buildings. It is not a towering landmark building, but rather a real, encouraging citizen participation, and the most ordinary grassroots government service complex.On the premise of not exceeding the single civil construction cost of similar buildings, its comprehensive, convenient, and daily characteristics are fully reflected in this building open to all citizens.
After two years of design and construction, the Ciqikou Service Center has been put into use. It not only cooperates with the street to carry out daily office management work, but also continuously contributes to the development of public life. The multiple meanings of environment and architecture, service and life, public and the public are gathered and stacked here to form a rich landscape. Just as the founder of phenomenology Husserl proposed "returning to things themselves" - returning to the functions and attributes of the service center itself, the words "service" and "public" are exactly what they mean.