A river between rocks – a poem inspired this stand-out exhibition centre

ShuiFa Info Town Property Exhibition Centre is a rather spectacular exhibition in its own right with a sculptural presence on the outside that is more than matched when you step inside – finding the entrance is the easy part, taking everything in is another matter

Designed by aoe,

From the architects:

The project is located in the Changqing Economic Development Zone, 20 kilometres from the city centre of Jinan, an area has not yet been developed on a large scale. The surrounding environment is a messy mix of high-voltage line towers dotting weed-strewn farmland. To give visitors the best viewing experience, the designer has isolated the area from the surrounding environment and has created a relatively enclosed space.

The architectural design is inspired by Wang Wei's verse from Mountain Dwelling in Autumn: “Rain passes in the pristine mountain, refreshing autumn evening. Moon shines among the pine, clear spring flows on stones”.

Through a four “stones” arrangement, like a stream of clear spring water flowing from the cracks in the rocks, the main structure is assembled out of white perforated panels, glowing with cultural motifs.

The northern boundary is designed like a mountain waterfall, combined with green microtopography, giving the whole building an air of refinement filled with cultural significance.

The building’s principle functions are hosting residential sales expos, property expos, and offices. The main entrance is located on the west side. In order to eliminate the visual impact of the messy surrounding environment, geometrical hills are designed to surround the square, which slowly rises as people enter the site, gradually blocking out the view. Mountains, water, and marble are fused together in this undeveloped wilderness.

A second layer is set outside the main structure in the form of perforated plating, so that the building is enveloped within it, forming a relatively enclosed space. The curtain wall sections are slanted, nestled, and interlaced inside, and the gap between the sections naturally forms the entrance of the building.

Everything happens inside the space, connected to the outside world only through the irregular gaps in the curtain wall. The interior is obscured by the white perforated plating, and as night falls, light shines out through the perforated plates to make the whole building glow, like a piece of shiny marble standing in the wilderness.

The density of the perforation of the plate gradually changes from top to bottom according to the function of the building interior. The main function of the first and second floors is as display areas, so the density of perforation is higher for more transparency. The main function of the third and fourth floors of the building is for office space, which requires a relatively private environment, so the number of perforations is lower, and it is relatively more enclosed while ensuring sufficient lighting.

The gradual changes in the perforated plates allow the permeability of the facade to gradually change from top to bottom, giving a sense of depth to the overall surface of the building. The perforated plate itself has a shading effect, like a layer of ecological skin, making the building more environmentally friendly. At the same time, the grey space formed between the glass curtain wall and the perforated plate enriches the spatial experience inside the building.

In terms of landscape design, in order to reflect the reputation of Jinan as the City of Springs, a large area of cascading water was set up along the main avenue display area, with the water falling from four metre-high stone steps.

The main entrance to the property exhibition hall is set on the second floor, concealed behind the cascading water, and can be reached via a connecting bridge. On the bridge, there is cascading water on the outside, and a tranquil pool on the inside centred around a welcoming pine. One side is in motion and the other side is tranquil, reflecting the mood of the bright moon shining between the pine tree and clear spring water on the stones. Upon entering the building, visitors are drawn from the wilderness into a sculptural, considered interior.

The interior of the building is also a continuation of the exterior, with the perforated plating element of the entrance area extending directly through to the interior. A large, four-storey atrium serves as a sandbox area and becomes the focal point of the entire space. Natural light comes in from the skylight and is surrounded by perforated plates, forming a space imbued with a sense of ritual. Viewing windows are set up on the enclosed perforated plates, allowing someone upstairs to look over the sandbox, while also setting up a contrast that makes the space livelier.

The first floor is the residential sales expo centre. The walls of the main entrance and the multi-functional rest area extend the architectural form to the interior, continuing the clean and blocky design. The tall atrium and the perforated plate material on the facade make the atrium space extremely dramatic. The two connecting bridges above the atrium enliven the space between the different floors, while the mirrored stainless steel skin reflects the entire atrium space as if floating in the air.

The low-set sandbox also increases the sense of spatial contrast. The atrium achieves a strong visual impact, much like a box suspended in the air.

The second floor is the property exhibition hall. The contour of the interior is designed according to the outline of the building itself. The entire wall presents an origami-like form, with a consistent architectural theme. The “stone block” intent is embodied throughout the exhibition hall, connecting the reception area at the entrance to the various exhibition spaces on the same level, while the folding of the wall creates a wide range of spatial variety. The perforated plates on the atrium facade unify the visual effect of the atrium, with the viewing windows on the facade enabling visitors on different floors and spaces to discover different perspectives and contrasts.

The integrated design of architecture, view, and interior enable the entire project to be consistent with the design concept. While isolated from the surrounding environment, it also becomes the focal point of the entire area, satisfying the display requirements as an exhibition centre and sales office, bringing new opportunities for the development of this region.

Credit list

Changqing District, Jinan, China
Lead architect
Larry Wen, aoe

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Jianquan Wu

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