by Jerry ElengicalJan 08, 2022
The rapid strides in Chinese architecture, particularly the exponential rise in both the scale and the quantum of what the Chinese have built, particularly in the last decade, is an interesting paradigm to explore. On one hand, state-of-the-art buildings with every modern innovation from energy efficiency to AI continue to pop up. On the other, the country, and seen through a larger window, the eastern part of the globe, continues to experiment with a material that possesses immense potential along with aesthetic value: bamboo. Despite a number of tests and tribulations that have proven otherwise, while it would take probably decades for bamboo to entirely replace conventional building materials, the use of bamboo architecture to define spaces of transience, of congregation, and their contribution in turn to urban edifices is undeniable. Having completed the Changqi Bamboo Corridor project and the Huanglong Waterfront Bamboo Corridor project with a similar approach, Guangzhou-based Atelier cnS has added three new structures to the Xianmo Flower Field Landscape Park with a vision to catalyse public interactions in an urban environment.
The design of the three pavilions seeks inspiration from the very material constituting their composition. The definition of the design of the three pavilions, in particular, is derivative of the excellent tensile and bending properties of bamboo itself, and the material’s property of singularly being capable of operating in all three dimensions. In other words, curved bamboo can naturally form a shaded, covered enclosure, thus justifying the material’s appeal in pavilion designs particularly. Furthermore, climatologically, bamboo structures have been proven to enhance ventilation and heat dissipation in subtropical climates. Atelier cnS thus describes their design of the bamboo pavilions to be a highly iterative one, working through various models of shell structures to arrive at the most appealing as well as the most structurally sensible solution.
While aiming to rejuvenate the site of the beautiful Xianmo Flower Field, located in the centre of Beijiao, the intervention also attempts to draw from what the site offers. While the primary MO of the pavilions emerged from a large expanse of the urban park being unshaded, leading to a majority of it falling to disuse for a good part of the day, Atelier cnS’ interventions enable people to actively occupy these spaces, while having an enhanced experience viewing the flowers of Xianmo in full bloom. “As an independent landscape structure, the bamboo pavilion provides a rich spatial experience and iconic image. It integrates with the surrounding environment and serves as a rest service for viewing flowers during the blooming season,” states the team at Atelier cnS through an official release.
Structurally, the Flower and Embrace pavilions continue the same basic logic of combining “shell-like” shapes, based on the original designs of Changqi Bamboo Corridor and the Huanglong Waterfront Bamboo Corridor, also designed by cnS. A 'spiral' is used as the lofting control-line that creates the rhythm of the Flower Pavilion’s structure and bamboo weave, birthing a visually dynamic spatial hierarchy. Embrace Pavilion consists of two groups of inverted shells end to end to form a closed loop. Three-dimensional two-way curved surfaces are cantilevered on the structure to achieve a total span of 12m.
Through a succinct shift in scale creating an undulating 'roof', a stage is created near the larger fold, and a waterfront viewing avenue forms beneath the smaller fold. The architects describe the transition between these two as a “dramatic spatial twist”. The spatial quality within is further enhanced through the filtering of sunlight through the semi-transparent roof, composed of palm tree bark, along with bamboo of course. Achieved through the impeccable application of traditional bamboo weaving skills, also an impetus for generating local employment, the combination of both bamboo and palm tree bark in the roof, known to enhance weather and rain resistance, has been hailed as a breakthrough in traditional bamboo constructions by cnS.
In addition to the two bamboo pavilions, the Breeze pavilion evolves as a nearly sculpturally constructed space in steel, almost like an art installation. The pavilion adopts a simple compositional logic, which uses an elliptical interface to rotate around its axis and form a channel space. ‘Breeze’ is inadvertently placed on a thoroughfare that must be crossed to access the flower field, and one can naturally feel the dynamic shifting of light and shadows while passing through it. An element of interactivity occurs in the form of windchimes installed in the pavilion, that visitors can toggle and play with, generating enchanting sounds to elevate a spatial experience into an aural one as well.
Name: Flower Field Bamboo Pavilion, Urban Park Micro Renovation
Location: Midea Street Beijiao Town,Shunde District, Foshan City
Architects: Atelier cnS, School of Architecture, South China University of Technology
Completion Year: 2021
Clients: Government of Beijiao Town, Foshan City
Gross Built Area: Flower Pavilion: 100 ㎡, Embrace Pavilion: 300 ㎡, Breeze Pavilion: 80㎡
Lead Architects: Guanqiu Zhong, Hairui Lin, Wenhao Zhang
Design team: Hairui Lin, Wenxuan Huang, Li Yang, Longyuan Lu, Zhanchong Deng, Hang Zhao
School of architecture, South China University of Technology:
Student team: Guanqiu Zhong (Lead Teacher), Wenhao Zhang, Wenchu Zhang, Yuhao Huang, Zhixian Tan, Xinyue Gu, Longyuan Lu