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The Suzhou Conservatoire

Part 1 Project 2014
Can Cui
Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University China
The idea originates from the changing views around the site; a site that is located on an important public green space within the dense city fringe. There are a great number of trees that become less and less dense as we move from the north-east corner to the river side. Hence, this conservatoire attempts to emphasize this feature of transition on the site.

The school comprises two parts: the first is the main teaching block made up of three buildings on the north-east corner. These leaning black concrete walls are used to express the idea of intensity and enclosure. Massive block forms, solid colour and hard materials are applied here, reflecting the authority of the space on the site. In a Chinese context they also reflect huge stones on the mountain, that block our path but - as with education - we learn to navigate a route through. Therefore, not only can the administrative or more private spaces in the building be well protected but they also surprise with glimpses of the river beyond, symbolically opening up as we walk along.

The other part comprises a concert hall, library and café near the river side. Contained in two building forms, these can be considered to be semi-public space. Using a steel frame and timber cladding, these express a more warm and welcoming feeling from the density of the administrative/teaching area. The low height and large openings creates a pleasing scale, drawing people from the cloistered energy at the centre into the bright and open spaces that merge with the public and natural environment of the original Suzhou.

Can Cui


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