West Village · Basis Yard
As a multifunctional complex consists of various cultural activities and commercial industries, west village encircles an entire block to form a community of collective memories and reproduce conventional lifestyles. A walkway entwined the yard connects each floor of the building, from the underground to the roof; it is designed for pedestrians and cyclers for leisure and sports activities.
Located at 1 North Beisen Road of Chengdu, the site covers an entire block spanning 237 metres from east to west and 178 metres from north to south. It sits in middle of mature communities and is surrounded by streets. The land usage of the site is for community sports activities. Originally there were a golf course and a natatorium - which has been preserved and rehabilitated later as a multifunctional centre. A plot ratio of 2.0 is allowed, with 40 percent coverage and the maximum height of 24 metres.
The project aims to integrate a variety of social resources into a local collective-living space accommodating sports and leisure activities, cultural and artistic events, and fashion and creative industries simultaneously. The project synthesises collective memory, local characteristics and modern lifestyle in order to provide a contemporary arena for diversified lifestyles in modern cities. In addition, the project expects to fulfil social and practical needs with an ultimate goal of being a strong energizer for urban communities.
Based upon functionality, cost-efficiency, practicability and honesty of material, the design aims to build the most basic framework, intentionally revealing the underlying nature of the construction, and consequently producing a distinct morphological aesthetics – essential functions/structures give the building's form.
To make the best use of the existing conditions - an entire block with a height limit and surrounded by high-rises, the project encircles the entire block along the periphery - 182 meters from east to west and 137 meters from north to south - in order to maximize the inner area of sports and green land as well as optimize visitors circulation rate along the streets. Unlike typical centripetal commercial complexes, the enclosed courtyard is a 'green basin' that contains diverse public life and carries on a traditional Chengdu lifestyle - self-sufficient yet open-minded.
The building has two full stories underground, and five to six stories aboveground. Its east, west and south sides are fully enclosed to the maximum extent in order to form a distinctive aura field with an enclosed yet open gesture.
The street frontages of the building have continuous overhung verandas which allow each shop face the street independently; The courtyard façade has continuous balconies that allow all users can share a view of the inner courtyard. Within the courtyard, the line of sight is from the periphery to the centre, which is similar to the structure of The Coliseum. The wide bar table-styled balcony handrails are made of high-resistance reconsolidated bamboo that can be used as a desk for reading or working while enjoying the courtyard view. The functional structure of the project provides individuals with customizable spaces; nevertheless, the various expressions will be regulated by the scale of the large compound, and consequently generates a diverse and harmonious marketplace facade.
The system of honeycomb-core hollow-ribbed floor creates wide open space with higher ceiling height to meet flexible and various needs. The application of locally-handmade bamboo pallet as template delivers a unique texture on the surface of concrete, which also abstractly refers to the local vegetation.
The construction joints are exaggerated and become an artificial landscape of "a thread of sky". Moreover, it conceals mechanical space and promotes air ventilation. It attempts to reveal "physiological faults" produced during the construction process. Likewise, the steel bars extracted from the concrete are used as railing.
The Rebirth Brick has been widely used in the project, such as building gables, partial real walls, landscape pavers and courtyard walls. The cross section of bricks exposes its internal aggregates as a honest presentation of its material. In addition to the rebirth bricks, the hollow bricks are used for roof plantation, air ventilation and lighting apertures; the micro- perforated bricks are used for vertical greening; perforated bricks are used on the gallery wall are used to fix the exhibits; and gangue bricks that usually used for basic filling are used for exteior walls; etc. All these examples represent an unconventional application of the basic materials. Such applications are cost-efficient and environmental-friendly, also demonstrate the uniqueness of materials. Furthermore, the wide use of granitic plasters and terrazzo inherits China’s mature modern construction techniques that will soon be lost.
The original natatorium at the north side later has been preserved and rehabilitated as a multifunctional space for artistic and cultural activities. It seems like an interruption of the continuous enclosed building structure, however, the elevated intersecting ramps continues and completes the enclosure - loose but not missing. The track has a total length of 1.6 km; it entwines the whole yard, connecting each floors of the building, from the underground to the roof. The track system is not only a distinctive architectural feature, but also a community recreational facility.
The keywords of landscape design are “bamboo space” and “teahouse” - the quintessence of Chengdu culture. It aims to create a public place symbolising with Chengdu lifestyle. Bamboo is the representative vegetation in Chengdu low-land agriculture and everyday life. The landscape design attempts to convey the leisure spirit of Chengdu by a yard with bamboos all around. Gardens are formed by walls, large courtyards are subdivided into various bamboo-surrounded spaces with different flooring, such as sand lad, pebbles and red sandstone. As a result, diverse and rich atmospheres are achieved as bamboo courtyards with various sizes contain one another.
The landscape structure gradually expands from the central sport space to the courtyard facade. The inner circular track defines a multi-functional open space for sports, performances and exhibitions. Under the circular track, there is circular gallery. Its exhibition wall is a cavity wall that contains service facilities such as restrooms for the small bamboo spaces belting in the outer-ring of the track. These bamboo spaces are all equipped with office facilities to reach contemporary needs of spaces for offices and conferences, e.g. bamboo teahouses, bamboo meeting rooms, and bamboo classrooms. The outer-ring of the belt is five large bamboo squares with various bamboos. The outer-ring of the belt consists of five large squares surrounded by various bamboos. A continuous water ditch is located at the junction between the bamboo squares and the building. Terraces beside it are acting as a threshold between the building and the inner courtyard space.
The track crosses through the whole circular roof. Four sides of the roof slightly slope inwards to form a "four-slope-water" way. The entire roof is paved with macro-porous rebirth bricks whose holes are filled by soil and thus provide more urban plantation spaces. Paving the whole roof with rebirth bricks shows the architect's intention to mimic Chinese traditional tile-roofing texture. The roof walkway has traditional garden landscape elements such as pavilions, lookout platforms, galleries and bridges, tower; however these elements have been translated and transferred into the contemporary architectural language. As a result, the circular roof and the inner bamboo courtyard together offers a vast urban oasis.