A hut was built in the village entrance of Wujiazhuang, Zhangjiakou, China. The village is featured with shallow hills and gentle slopes, actively preparing for the huge tourist population of 2022 Winter Olympics.
Except for a reception center and souvenir shop, the hut can also function as a performing stage during festivals. It interactively opens or closes according to the weather condition.
The project design adopts the single-cell morphology of the quasi-crystal structure as its form, with irregular 16 panels, three of which are operable using mechanical devices. When the environment temperature is between 16℃ and 29℃, the three panels will open to different directions, to ensure good ventilation and outdoor sceneries. When the temperature drops under 16℃, they will automatic close and trigger the coil-tube ground heating system to warm the space. They will also close when above 29℃, with the air conditioning system being started. Some other special conditions like storm or snow will also elicit a reaction so to protect the hut from damages.
All these reactions are realized by the interaction system inside the hut, which includes three parts. The first is the sensing system for collecting environmental information, such as temperature sensor, humidity sensor, wind sensor, etc. The second is the software central control system, which is responsible for calculating the collected information according to the set requirements and issuing instructions. The third is a mechanical device mounted on a three-piece panel that, when the system receives instructions from the hub, performs commands to push the panel moved to the right position.
The hut is located on a slope. The irregular 16-sided crystal form echoes the mountain shape and the platform terrain. Furthermore, the building panels are made of GRC materials, to reproduce the local traditional grass rammed earth wall, soluble in the natural environment of the hillside. It is meant to arouse the sense of identity among villagers.
The design of the building adopts the three-dimensional digital modeling method. The structure, panels, windows, and indoor elements are all based on the digital model. The structure adopts the irregular steel frame system. The entire steel frame is welded on site with fourteen 13cm-diameter steel pipes. Steel pipes are processed in the factory using CNC machining, while the Digital Total station is used for field positioning and welding. GRC panels and windows are prefabricated and then assembled on site.
The interior of the hut is finished with OSB panels. The interior space follows the irregular introverted-inclining folding form, with the highest point of 5.5 meters. Its scale is similar to the traditional ancestral temple, creating a more futuristic spiritual space for villagers.
The outdoor ground and retention slope use the most common red bricks in the village, forming freely and lively according to the mountain escalate. The northeast slope creates a natural auditorium. When the three panels are fully opened, the hub will become a performing stage, with spectators sitting freely on the surrounding sloping steps to watch the show.
The design of the hut combines the concept of vernacular design and interaction technology. It shows the respect to local material, landscape and the cultural tradition of the village and active the process of revival by providing a spot of tourism attraction and a platform for public activities at the same time. Meanwhile, the adoption of the interaction technology makes the hut an experimental example of the new building system.
Sustainable development is already a human consensus. Green architecture, ecological architecture, energy saving, etc. are essential architecture development. However, to truly realize ecology design, it is necessary to take architecture as ta carrier and a basic unit, combine existing technologies, and create a new building system. The integration of interactive systems will potentially be an effective way. The new building system involves architecture, structure, plumbing, electricity, acoustic and light, as well as indoor health, building materials recycle, energy systems and so on, calling for professional cooperation.
Xu Weiguo is a professor at the school of architecture at Tsinghua University; He was a visiting scholar at MIT and he also taught in SCI-Arc and USC. Prof.Xu established his own architectural practice（XWG）in Beijing. He is a leading scholar and a pioneer architect in the digital design field. He was one of the curators of Architecture Biennial Beijing from 2004 to 2010. As one of the main initiators, he established the Digital Architecture Design Association and was elected as Director of DADA. In January 2019, Prof.Xu and his team built the largest 3D printed concrete pedestrian bridge of the world.