Recently crowned as the world’s second-largest economy, China continues to develop new and interesting ways of embracing the free market economy; this time by experimenting with private funding for public buildings. The Two is an example of this inventive approach, where buildings are designed to respond to current and anticipated demographics, cultural and technological changes in innovative ways.
The Jimei New City suburb of Xiamen is an area expected to house 200,000 people in just a few short years. Currently surrounded by construction sites, noise, dust and undesirable views of existing commercial buildings, the site is at the middle of the newly developing suburb. Funded privately by the community’s developer, The Two function’s as a sales office, housing the client’s offices, discussion spaces, VIP areas, a children’s play area, presentation theater, and a 10×6 meter display model of the planned community. Once development is complete however, the building’s function will be transformed into a Community Arts Center, a landmark for the new community where the public can enjoy exhibits by local and regional artists.
The bright yellow, corrugated metal drum of the main building volume reveals itself through a garden and is intended to become an icon for the development. As visitors arrive at the building, an entry path through a garden and between two asymptotic black basalt walls allows one to remove themselves from the realm of the car. The curving six-meter tall walls of honed black basalt funnel visitors to the entry while screening out undesirable views. These walls create a sense of compression as visitors move toward the entry, before releasing them into the open interior space.
At the interior, discussion spaces and special VIP areas flank a central model of the community while a children’s area with outdoor patio gives kids a place of their own. A large central garden surrounded by curved glass walls brings daylight into the space and provides a connection to nature. The garden is designed to provide natural ventilation, drawing in fresh air through operable louvers and exhausting the heated air through a continuous clerestory that brings daylight to the perimeter of the building. Surrounding the garden at the rear, staff workspaces and meeting areas are designed to be functional and efficient. The garden creates a natural separation between the public and private space so that the workplace can be open yet privacy is maintained.Location: Xiamen, China Architect/Design Team: Line and Space, LLC (Architect) – Les Wallach, FAIA (Lead Designer), Henry Tom, AIA, NCARB, Bob Clements, AIA, LEED AP, Mike Anglin, RA, LEED AP, John McColgin, Ray Jin, LEED AP, Emily Starace, RA, LEED AP
Client: Shenzhen Legend Real Property Consultant Co., Ltd.
Building Type: Sales Office designed to become a Community Arts Center
Building Area: 1,060 square meters
Materials: Steel structural frame; Black basalt; insulated structural glazing; corrugated steel; Stone tile floors; acoustic wall treatments; custom maple furniture, casework, and overhead slat system;
Year Completed: 2011
Credits: All Drawings by Line and Space, LLC
Photos: ©Yang Chaoying