The project is situated within Great Yu Mausoleum Scenic Area, which is located at the foot of Kuaiji Mountain, six kilometers away from southeast Shaoxing. It occupies an area of more than 166,666㎡, backed by Kuaiji Mountain and facing the Great Yu Pool. The sacrifice ritual for Great Yu (also known as "Da Yu"）， an ancient Chinese emperor who was famed for flood control， has lasted for 4,000 years since Xia Dynasty. It was handed down from generation to generation and continues to today. In 2007, it was upgraded into a state-level sacrificial activity and was scheduled to be held every year during the Grain Rain season.
The objective of the project is to improve the overall spatial structure and functions of the scenic area, to celebrate the culture of sacrificing to Great Yu. The architects optimized the landscapes within the scenic area, enhanced the overall visiting experiences and also emphatically upgraded several building clusters centered on the sacrifice square. The building clusters strike a balance between traditional culture and modern construction craftsmanship. Based on modern design approaches and construction techniques, the reconstruction and upgrade of Jiyu Square communicates the contemporary spirit and also gives a nod to the brilliant traditional culture. Its profound architectural charm will continue to increase as time goes on.
The following design strategies were adopted to reorganize spaces of the square and the scenic area:
1. The second-half of the Spirit Road is deflected to the south to be on the same axis with Jiyu Square, Hall of Fruition and the Great Yu Statue on the mountaintop, not only enhancing the spatial order but also restoring the commanding role of the sacrificing road built by artisans;
2. The new stone lattice gate and the visitor service center at the main entrance of the scenic area were reorganized and integrated on the basis of retaining the original gate;
3. The Jiulong Altar at the middle section was expanded;
4. Jiyu Pavilion at the back segment was connected to the Spirit Road to the west. At the end of the road is a bronze monument engraved with the Chinese character“Yu”. On the top of the pavilion there are nine evenly distributed tripods, symbolizing the merits and virtues of Great Yu. The annular pavilion and the terraced grandstand enclose the expanded circular Jiyu Square. The pavilion accommodates reception room, lounge and rehearsal room, which were designed for serving sacrifice activities.
The Architectural Design & Research Institute of Zhejiang University Co., Ltd. (UAD) was established in 1953. It is one of the earliest First Class Design Institutes among major national universities. The company now has nearly 1400 employees. UAD holds creating harmonious environments, a global vision, complete services, and the highest professionalism as their guidelines. Based on the resources of Zhejiang University, UAD relies on Academicians of the China Academy of Engineering and the China Academy of Sciences to support the blossoming architectural creations. The company seeks extensive international academic exchanges and joint engineering designs. It has won over 1200 awards for outstanding designs, excellent projects or research outcomes at national, ministerial and provincial, as well as international levels.