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Art and Cultural Centre, Tianqiao, Beijing, China

Part 2 Project 2009
Alan Chow
University of Huddersfield, UK
The intention in this project for an Art and Cultural Centre is to explore the historical context and re-capture the ‘joy’ that was once part of Tianqiao. The design strategy mainly focuses on the ‘central axis’ of Beijing where the axis commence from the south and where ‘Yongdingmen Gate’ is situated while ending at the north of the axis where Olympic Park is located. The central axis is linked to several major works of architecture such as: Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Olympic park, in a sequential order. This explains why the central axis acts as an important role for the city evolution. However, there is a missing key element to unite the central axis which underlies the uniqueness of Beijing.

Although the Forbidden City plays the role of the ‘Heart of the City’ and the Olympic Park as a symbol of ‘modernization’ these are the only key developments in Beijing. Development in the south of Beijing has become divorced from the central axis due to the lack of maintenance of the historical buildings which have been neglected for many years.

The project aims to establish a new development in the south of Beijing which will re-connect the Tianqiao district to the central axis. The new Art and Cultural Centre is built upon the idea of the new starting points for: A) the reflection of ‘modernism’ and ‘history’, B) the beauty and functional capabilities for carrying through the central axis and C) continuing to link the Olympic Park through the use of the axis running in both directions from the south to north and north to south. This can facilitate the transition of Beijing to become a unique city.

Alan Chow

The project typology, brief, and location are all self selected by the student with guidance from the school, of which the Design Thesis is the final component of the year’s academic endeavours including the Dissertation and Preliminary Studies modules both of which prepare the student philosophically and contextually for the design project.

The Tianqiao Art and Cultural Centre, Beijing, is a highly developed and literate sophisticated synthesis, culturally and contextually relevant, spatially revelatory, and tectonically mature.

Responding to both city grid and edge condition with an adjacent highway and opposing parkland, the design programme adheres itself to the city grain, weaving into the landscape to create a sculpted piazza as a prelude to the snaking circulation as it rises to form the atrium and morphing to parametrically engineered envelope.

Highly expressionistic and derived from complex parametric modelling, the landscape, architectural form, and technological response are as one intrinsic sensually flowing resolution. Design development has been explored from programme tested, intuitive sketches, through a series of interrogative cadcam laser cut and 3d printing resin maquettes.

The resultant architectural response acknowledges the influences of Coop Himmelblau, Renzo Piano, Tom Wisecomb, and Zaha Hadid.

Mr Gerard Bareham
Mr Jon Bush
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