One Sino Park by aoe in Chongqing, China, adopts a sculptural, deconstructivist theme with crystalline forms perched atop a cliffside, echoing the craggy natural rock formations that serve as its foundation - both conceptually and structurally. The commercial multi-use facility, aims to “highlight relationships between architecture, nature, society, and the people of Chongqing while offering an enhanced spatial experience for visitors through a design-oriented rethinking of modern lifestyles,” as explained by the Beijing-based studio. Its distinctive structural expression - which invokes a sense of movement and urgency - was developed with an intent to infuse vibrancy into the surrounding context, and presents the building as a work of art meant to inspire civic engagement and pride.
Angular planes, clear glass work, and stainless steel is combined in the dynamic façade, reminiscent of freehand brushwork with regards to its fluid and at times, precariously poised composition. Textured stone finishes are used on many of the angled exterior walls, to create spaces that stir up images of a Roman grotto. These walls are also cantilevered in some sections, with steel columns and composite plates that aid in managing structural loads as well as 800mm glass cantilevers that link parts of the framework structure. Housing 3000 sqm of functional floor space over four-storeys, One Sino Park combines program areas that include a sales centre, lobbies, foyers, exhibition spaces, and offices on its second and third floors. The latter level also hosts the main entrance, supported by a riveted steel structure.
Providing a more synergistic alternative to conventional retail design spaces, the exhibition spaces on the second and third floors feature an open plan layout with a vast covered terrace that runs along the length of the second floor. This particular configuration is far more conducive to the design’s driving concept, which endeavours to utilise architecture as a medium to engage public participation and community vitality through interaction.
A façade design composed of innumerable folded aluminium plates suspended from a stainless steel plate framework screens this zone from the exterior. Described by aoe as a ‘thousand paper crane’ façade system, it references origami as well as East Asian symbolism concerning the themes of longevity, health, and truth. The lustrous steel gleams in the sunlight during the day, distinguishing itself from the surrounding vegetation. Contrastingly, at night, acrylic rods inside the building serve as lighting design elements which radiate an ethereal glow from within.
Below, a vast leisure area occupies much of the ground floor, surrounding a heated swimming pool, with locker rooms and a sauna towards the northeastern corner of the building. An expansive lobby on the third floor leads into an open terrace with seating, pockets of landscape design, and stunning views of the surrounding terrain. Wooden decking, lounge seating, and parasols complement the glass background, beneath a triangular steel canopy held up by angled supports. The canopy’s mirrored underside distorts reflections of the stairway below it, as it leads up to the terrace.
Above, the fourth floor houses a small art gallery within a sculptural glass enclosure that projects over an outdoor space on the floor below. According to aoe, “The artistic space on the top level will continue to evolve as an integral part of the interactive theme, with plans to develop it into a community art centre in the near future.”
Oozing dynamism from each and every facet of its design, One Sino Park is by no means short in visual appeal. In a sense, this is essentially a growing trend among similar developments cropping up in the domains of institutional, cultural, and commercial Chinese architecture that adopt sculpturally-driven deconstructivist influences to create structures that stand out rather than blend into their context. In spite of this, the building is of its own merit, a dazzling marvel of structural adroitness, possessing an immediately awe-inspiring form that is sure to draw the eye of anyone in its vicinity. With the passage of time, it is quite possible that the building will foster the exact sort of engagement and community interaction that aoe set out to accomplish.
Name: One Sino Park
Location: Yuzhu Road, Yubei District, Chongqing, China
Gross Built Area: 3210.56 sqm
Lead Architects: Larry Wen
Design Team: Shixin Gao, Gen Li, Jiarui Li, Liuqing Liu, Ye Wang
Engineering: CMCU Engineering Co., Ltd
Interiors: Matrix Design