Nanxun Ancient Town was born near the water and is famous of its silk production. It is a window of history and culture in Zhejiang Province and a famous town in the south of the Yangtze River with extremely developed tourism. The project is located at the northwest corner of Nanxun Ancient Town, only one street away from the ancient town, with Ditang Canal on the west side and Ditang Ancient Waterway on the south side. There’re eight historical buildings to be preserved on the site. Some were built during the Republic of China, while others were erected in the 1970s and 1980s. However, these buildings are now in a chaotic environment, lack of booming businesses. After on-site investigation, the design team found that most new buildings on the edge of ancient town imitated ancient architectural style in the name of protecting the ancient town. As a result, urban spaces tend to be more homogeneous and monotonous yet less popular. In response, the design team is intended to conceive a creative and different design scheme on the premise of abiding by the law on protection of cultural relics. Besides, the team believes that new architecture is distinct from old one, because each of them is characterized by its own emotions and languages. To avoid evoking a sense of pressure, on the premise of fulfilling the functions of museum, the volume and scale of new buildings along the street is close to those of other constructions in the ancient town, and the street-facing facades are rich and continuous, with the purpose of extending the city’s fabrics and expressing modernity in the historical context. Aiming to create soft and dynamic waterfront spaces, the design extracts the circular spatial form of silo and water tower. An arc-shaped cultural street block is arranged in the irregular space to connect old and new buildings, giving birth to a public open modern garden featuring traditional style. Upon entering this street block, people can feel its enthusiasm and vitality. Materials, relics and memories of different times and spaces are blended here and coexist harmoniously. Before reclamation, Yongan Road used to be a river in the Republic of China. In recent years, Nanxun Ancient Town has initiated the plan of restoring disappeared water systems. In this context, the design team hopes to evoke spatial memories about Nanxun Water Town by reproducing the characteristic surfaces along the street and depicting a poetic picture that buildings beside water are covered with drizzle and mist. This conveys the design concept of “museum by water”. U-shaped glass will be applied to new buildings. This kind of gentle and shiny material can reconstruct light environment of architecture space by diffusing reflection, turning the whole space into a gentle light container. Old and new buildings mix each other on the main axis, enriching spatial layers and perfectly fusing elements of different times and spaces. Together, they constitute the display area of museum. The design team hopes that even after the display area of museum is closed, street-facing and waterfront spaces still function as a public open venue to serve society and maximize the use of street resources and public spaces. As the museum of Nanxun District, it will blend into the surroundings in an open manner, serving as a new public activity venue and spiritual center for citizens in the future.
The Architectural Design & Research Institute of Zhejiang University Co., Ltd. (UAD) was established in 1953. Formerly known as Zhejiang University Architectural Design Studio, it is one of the earliest First Class Design Institutes among major national universities.
The mission of UAD is to seek “harmonious environment, global vision, design-teaching-research integration and innovation, and the highest professionalism”. UAD adopts the development strategy of “high-grade culture, broad vision, high-efficiency management, high-caliber talents, high professional technologies and high-quality works”, with the academic theory of“Balanced Architecture”as the design guideline. During the past decades, UAD has always persisted in creating fine and innovative works, contributing a large number of outstanding works in various fields. Over the years, it has won more than 1,500 awards for outstanding designs, excellent projects or research outcomes at national, ministerial and provincial levels.
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