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Lead Architect: Chu Dongzhu
General Contractor: The 5th Engineering Cp., Ltd. of China Railway 22nd Bureau Group
Client: Chongqing Beiquan Hot Spring Development Co., Ltd
Design Team: Yan Yu, Yuwen Deng, Ning Rui, and Xu Xiaojun
Associate Architects: General Research Institute of Architecture & Planning Design Co., Ltd. of Chongqing University
Associate Architect Team: Yan Yu, Yuwen Deng, Ning Rui, and Xu Xiaojun
The culture of Chinese landscape, also known as ‘Shanshui’ plays an important role in traditional Chinese culture. The spirit of Chinese ‘Shanshui’ means more than just the natural scenery. It is also an advocated lifestyle of Chinese people: respecting nature, shaping one’s personality in nature, and pursuing the unity of nature and humanity. Jinyun Mountain National Nature Reserve has continuous mountains, lush forests, and a beautiful lake named Daihu that have attracted countless literati and artists throughout history. For a long time, people had been taking great care of this natural treasure. However, recent years of tourism resource development have seen some disordered and negligent management leading to illegal construction and pollution which have severely damaged the ecological environment of Jinyun Mountain and Dai Lake.
In June 2018, under the leadership of the local government, the Jinyun Mountain National Nature Reserve launched a comprehensive improvement operation. As the only newly built public building in the Nature Reserve, the Exhibition Hall itself should serve as an ‘exhibit’ of realizing the idea of ecological civilization. Confronting the man-made scars of the past, the design proposal needs to repair and regenerate the site under rational ecological logic and strict regulations. The first established design purpose is that the architecture should explore the basic principle of coexisting with the main body – the mountain, based on the humble and intimate concept of a Chinese “dwelling,” rather than a solemn and condescending “palace.” The proposal associates space and forms with text and symbol as the façade adopts the writing form of the Chinese Character ‘山’(mountain), filling the triangular void left by the demolished hotel on the horizon.
The newly introduced structure, together with the uplifting green land on both sides, forms a mountain-shaped silhouette of ups and downs, humbly restoring the ecological scars, maximum protecting and adapting to the original topography. In this ‘mountain dwelling,' the space integration combines a simple form with a rich and orderly interior path: The enclosed interior space emphasizes the purpose definition, connection, and guidance of the interior space, and the open exterior space indicates the installation of a wide view on nodes of the visiting circulation, guiding people to pursue the enlightenment of focusing back to the nature.
It is committed to providing not only interior spatial experience but also exterior views. The overall color scheme is calm and concise. Smoothness and transparency have become the basic choices for finishing material properties. With the combination of natural bamboo and wood and the transparent green and green from the front and back, and then superimposed on the roof, the building is integrated (but not hidden) into the environment. The space consists of four parts with four topics- tracing, viewing, meditating, and discussing, which respectively deal with the path network, the view spots, the exhibition space, and the seminar space.
The axis of the main entrance on the first floor leads to a landscaped courtyard with an organic combination of rocks and plants, like a fresh slice of the natural environment of Jinyun Mountain outside. The courtyard is completely open to the surrounding ecosystem, nourished by mountain springs and mist, and becomes the first important display after entering the building. Due to the narrowness of the plan, the exhibition flow in this exhibition hall is intentionally designed to be more dynamic, extending the exhibition flow length, and enriching the space experience in the exhibition hall. From the inside out, the outline of the green hills is faintly revealed, and the landscape is euphemistically introduced into the room.
Outside, visitors can rest on the shaded terrace and on the viewing balcony all on the second-floor platform, feeling the ecological concept and green atmosphere in a real forest scene. This makes the platform an excellent public gray space. The aerial viewing gallery is suspended above the main structure, the form of which is inspired by the mountain spring water showering down and splitting the rocks in Chinese traditional landscape paintings. In June 2022, the interior arrangement of the exhibition hall was completed, marking the end of an over-two-year design and construction phase.