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How does human behaviour respond to space and vice versa? Are we still on the lookout for fresh architectural space prototypes that have not yet been built, explored, thought of?
The multi-layered enquiry formed the genesis for LIN Architecture’s experimental project, the Wood Pavilion, which, besides considering the functionals of space, begins a search for keywords that could define spatial elements existing in the environment, a place where one can observe how a user will choose to treat a space. Resting near a quaint flowing river in the tourist area of Jiangxin Island in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province in China, the pavilion is distinguished by its low slung volume clad in midnight dark wood, with flat and angled slit apertures affixed and fluttering off its skin, respectively.
The Chinese architects, post analysing the far-flung site, decided to focus and emulate with the wooden architecture, ergonomics, proxemics, and behaviourology. "The scale of human behaviour is one of the concerns of this project. Research on the behaviour of different people is a very good design resource for architects. By observing and understanding the behaviour of people, designers can discover all kinds of possibilities of space,” shares Lin Lifeng and Chen Yuwei, lead architects of the project.
With the site’s stony ground as its floor, the pavilion exhibits an intended interplay of light and shadow, brought forth by its strategised crevices and skylights, straight, curved and arbitrary shaped. The light filtering through finds an ephemeral, theatrical contrast as it hits the dark wood panels that make the dusky structure, setting up the space for rumination and meditation. One of its elongated facades rises close to the ground to curve steeply and meet the opposite one that bends tersely. A panelled part arcs out gently from the steep façade to become an outdoor bench, while another one mirrors a few meters above as a wooden awning. Similarly, wooden segments slice inward to become a seat and window ledge, the light streaming through lending the surfaces light colour gradients.
LIN Architecture evaluates and extends the concept of 'Proxemics' developed by Columbia University anthropologist, Edward T Hall, in his book, Hidden Scales, by applying it to physical space of the wooden architecture, considering how private, intimate, social and public spaces can be defined and designed at different scales and with varying elements and materiality.
"Speaking of behaviour, from the perspective of architects Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima, human, nature, and architecture are discussed as a whole, because the study of this case does not involve the category of urban daily life pattern. Therefore, the behaviourology of various elements in the natural environment was studied and explored. Breeze, sunshine, the sound of waves, drizzle, sweet Osmanthus fragrance, affecting feelings, perceptions, touch, hearing, visual elements, are the materials of our design. Through keyword research, we began to create new forms of space in response to the various design elements surrounding it,” mention Lifeng and Yuwei.
The 50 sqm pavilion comes alive as a fragment of nature itself, as users “behave” in it by sitting, squatting, lying down, meditating, listening, peeping, wandering, overlooking, and even staring, forming the form of space.
"The act of light, the rising of the sun, the setting of the sun, the passing of the last light, the coming of the lamp, the illumination, is a dialogue between space and time. The surrounding environment, sea breeze brushing, leaves rustling, frogs chirping, cicadas singing, is the medium of dialogue between people and space," they continue.
Name: Wood Pavilion #1 Experiment on space prototype (I)
Location: Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China
Area: 50 sqm (Pavilion); 160 sqm (Site)
Year of completion: 2021
Architect and Design: LIN Architects
Lead Architects: Lin Lifeng, Chen Yuwei
Teaching research support and Materials Support: RAC Studio
Construction guidance: Shanghai Kangle Wood Structure Co., LTD
Technical Consultants: Shao Yinghong, Hu Hongman, Xie Gong
Owner and venue: Aoya Design, Jiangxinzhou Wutao Village
Drawings: Chen Yuwei, Chai Zongrui, Li Xueqing, Huo Yan, Huang Qiyue
Design participation and site construction: Chai Zongrui, Li Xueqing, Huo Yan, Huang Qiyue, Zhong Yaoyao, Ren Yiyang, Chen Xiaochi, Chen Luyao, Yang Chenxuan, Wang Xuening, Zhang Zhen, Li Xiaomin, Zhu Xuanyi, Wu Yifan, Lu Zheyuan, MAO Dangran, Wen Sirui
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