LIN Architecture’s Wood Pavilion in China is an experiment of archetype

With the midnight dark wood pavilion, LIN Architecture explores how one reacts to space and nature, its form focusing on human behaviour, proxemics and ergonomics.

by Jincy IypePublished on : Jan 08, 2022

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.

  • Wood Pavilion’s longer façade  | Wood Pavilion by LIN Architecture | STIRworld
    Wood Pavilion’s longer façade Image: LIU Songkai
  • West façade | Wood Pavilion by LIN Architecture | STIRworld
    West façade Image: LIU Songkai

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.

  • Glimpsing the evening sky through one of the longitudinal skylights cut into the pavilion | Wood Pavilion by LIN Architecture | STIRworld
    Glimpsing the evening sky through one of the longitudinal skylights cut into the pavilion Image: LIU Songkai
  • A relationship between light and shadow is seen in the interior space | Wood Pavilion by LIN Architecture | STIRworld
    A relationship between light and shadow is seen in the interior spaceImage: LIU Songkai

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.

Visual window, light window, and a small seat | Wood Pavilion by LIN Architecture | STIRworld
Visual window, light window, and a small seat Image: LIU Songkai
In the morning, the space is awakened by first light | Wood Pavilion by LIN Architecture | STIRworld
In the morning, the space is awakened by first light Image: LIU Songkai

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.

One can sit on the stone floor and meditate, feeling the wind and light or on one of the gently curved wooden benches | Wood Pavilion by LIN Architecture | STIRworld
One can sit on the stone floor and meditate, feeling the wind and light or on one of the gently curved wooden benches Image: LIU Songkai
Light seeps in through crevices, and so does the sea breeze | Wood Pavilion by LIN Architecture | STIRworld
Light seeps in through crevices, and so does the sea breeze Image: LIU Songkai

"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.

  • Another skylight formed by the shape of the pavilion | Wood Pavilion by LIN Architecture | STIRworld
    Another skylight formed by the shape of the pavilion Image: LIU Songkai
  • Inside the pavilion | Wood Pavilion by LIN Architecture | STIRworld
    Inside the pavilion Image: LIU Songkai

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.

  • Lying in front of the window and looking out at the landscape | Wood Pavilion by LIN Architecture | STIRworld
    Lying in front of the window and looking out at the landscape Image: LIU Songkai
  • The wind blew the fallen leaves into space; midday daylight illuminates the entrance space | Wood Pavilion by LIN Architecture | STIRworld
    The wind blew the fallen leaves into space; midday daylight illuminates the entrance space Image: LIU Songkai

"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.

Site plan, floor plan and section cut view | Wood Pavilion by LIN Architecture | STIRworld
Site plan, floor plan and section cut view Image: Courtesy of LIN Architecture

Project Details

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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