by Jerry ElengicalNov 03, 2022
Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has added another feather to its vast repertoire of large-scale cultural and institutional buildings. Recently announced as the winner of the international competition for the Jinghe New City Culture & Art Centre, it has yet again come up with a futuristic design solution. Located in the north of Xi’an in China's Shaanxi province, Jinghe County has become a hub for science and technology. The city is slowly growing into a centre for industries working towards sustainable and renewable energy, artificial intelligence, and aerospace. Driven by environmental considerations, the industries are supported by several scientific research institutes.
Sited amidst the winding valleys created by the Jinghe River, the new institute is within the Jinghe Bay Academician Science & Technology Innovation district of the city. Creating an equilibrium between nature and technological advancements, the city demonstrates a sustainable way of urban living. The design aims to intertwine the centre with the city’s existing urban master plan. In an official statement, the studio elaborated on the intention of its winning design saying, “Organised as a series of flowing volumes, layers and surfaces interconnecting with courtyards and landscapes, the design defines a sequence of interior and exterior cultural and recreational spaces for its community.”
The overall form is conceptualised as a seamless weave that manoeuvres through the urban fabric of the city while interlinking the residential and commercial sectors with parks and the riverside. Due to the mountainous terrain of the site, gently sloped ramps have been introduced for ease of circulation that eventually connect with the city’s network of elevated walkways. The project also enables the city’s residents to directly access the planned metro station while inside the building.
An interconnection between the new multimedia library, towards the northern side of Jinghe Avenue, has been established with the spaces towards the southern side. These spaces include a performing arts theatre, multi-function halls, exhibition galleries, and studios, which are connected through elevated courtyards, gardens, and pathways spanning across eight-lane traffic of the avenue below. "The multimedia library’s terraces overlook its full-height atrium with diffusing skylights to provide a variety of public reading zones for individual and collective research. The library will integrate print publications together with immersive virtual reality technologies that expand the boundaries of learning and enrich the exchange of knowledge," said the architects. The southern side of the avenue has been equipped with a performing arts theatre that will be able to accommodate 450 people. To enhance accessibility and inter-disciplinary collaboration, the galleries, studios, and the multi-functional hall have been planned around the theatre with common public areas.
Techniques like solar irradiation analysis and responsive site planning will be used to optimise the project's use of natural ventilation and daylight as per the climate of Jinghe New City. The project aims to achieve a 3-star certification in China’s Green Building program by installing photovoltaic panels for on-site power generation, utilising locally-produced materials with a high recycled content for construction and a rainwater harvesting system.
(Text by Navisha Sogani, intern at STIRworld)