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Multifunctional Complex

West Village Basis Yard

Based in the city of Chengdu, western China, architect Liu Jiakun describes his style of building as “here and now”. He is also an acclaimed writer in Chinese literary circles, as his thoughtful projects, rooted in Chinese traditions, would indeed suggest.

Jiakun’s earlier work could be defined as echoing Chinese modernism while at the same time reflecting topographic context and local craft traditions. The Luyeyuan Stone Sculpture Art Museum is one his most famous early works. The overall layout with its courtyard space and meandering pathway through the complex gives a sense of flexibility within a highly organized whole. Both the architecture and courtyard blend with their context, their design exploiting natural ventilation and light, which reaches into the exhibition spaces inside. Everything about the architecture and its spatial distribution is conducive to creating an intimate quiet atmosphere.

Although the distinctive geometrical blocks of his MoCA in Chengdu speak of modernist simplicity, their composition into different volumes spread over a splendidly landscaped area comprising a courtyard, platform and corridors, gives the project an intriguingly abstract quality. The mix of different building materials - metal, stone, wood, glass, etc. - underline the harmony of scale and spatial relations of both the interior and exterior - and testify to Jiakun’s skill with contemporary materials.

The basic structure of the Tea House in the Jinhua Architecture & Art Park No.5 is a rectangular glass box standing on a single pillar. This simple, light, transparent space can be used as a tea tasting place but also as a meditation space. The series of individual glass teahouses brings to mind a group of wader birds standing silently in water against a backdrop of sky.

The CIPEA Hotel in Nanjing adopts an approach that Jiakun describes as “breaking up the whole into parts”. A string of...

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