Next to Hongkong and Macao, Hengqin New Area is one of the fastest growing cities in China. We won the competition for the new culture and art center, which is going to be built in the next three years. The site is limited between crowded residential towers and an open city park. Instead of putting nine programs into a “solid” building, we adopt a strategy of “void”, to create an energetic complex with super-scale porous space for the high-density urban context. The main public space on the lower level is composed by three giant arch caves coated by wood and bamboo panels, to create a transparent window and a grand open space for urban life. We use inverted catenary as the geometry of arches, which is a common prototype shared by traditional Chinese and classical western culture. During the day, people can directly enjoy the views of the park outside the building. At night, the three transparent arched halls emit soft lights and become the stage background for various public events in the park. Each arch has a unique character with specific atmosphere. In the knowledge hall, crystal book blocks build up a vertical village for all ages of readers. Performance hall in the middle has a big open stage and a black box theater for dancing, concerts, dramas, and operas. The interior of exhibition hall is a porous space, where cheese holes scatter mysterious light into the space as joints between science and art. These three halls can be experienced not only in a continuous movement but parallel worlds. Above the arches, are there modular space units designed to maximize flexibility for the future. The building skyline is curved along a catenary from the north hill towards the south river. On the green overlapping urban balconies, are there three dedicated theme parks. At the first platform of ceremony, people can hold a wedding or a big birthday party. The semicircular grandstand to the second level gives you a great view of outdoor stage performance and the river. Along the spiral stairs, you will walk in the top bamboo garden, where you can have a nice quiet teatime by the sky bookstore. The skin of the whole building is composed of white hollow LOW-E printed glass, and the coverage rate of white printing reaches more than 75%. It has obvious shading and heat preservation effects, and effectively reduces the overall energy consumption of the building. There is a huge skylight system above the three arched halls. On the one hand, both sides can be automatically opened to discharge the indoor hot air from the building. On the other hand, the transparency can be adjusted according to the changes of the weather and the energy consumption of the building's air conditioning system can be reduced. The green plant coverage rate of the four-story roof garden platform exceeds 65%. The rainwater collection system forms a self-irrigation cycle, and at the same time it becomes the most effective insulation layer, which is very important for buildings in hot climates.
ATELIER APEIRON was founded by Yunchao Xu in Shenzhen of China, which is a creative and adventurous team of researchers, explorers and architects across different disciplines to practice urban design, landscape design, architectural design, and interior design. We use the ancient word APEIRON as our design philosophy and methodology, which leads us to the endless thinking, research and practice towards the origin of architecture. We take each project as an adventure on social operation rules, a re-link to the nature, and a reveal to the human life. We have accomplished a series of beautiful and innovative works in many cities of China, and all of them are running well, profoundly impacting and improving everyday life on the site. We think about our role and what we leave behind. With our feet on the ground and an open view to a sustainable future.