The Loquat Museum is located in an ancient Town TangQi, which is located at the waterway key point of Grand Canal from Hangzhou to Beijing. TangQi becomes the north gateway of Hangzhou. There is a saying “Canals were built, along with ponds, Wild loquat fruit, gradually become quality goods.” TangQi loquat was first planted in the Sui Dynasty with a long history. Loquat is one of the most important industries in TangQi Town. Now the loquat industry has become the name card of local agriculture in TangQi Town. Entrusted by TangQi Town government and cooperative institutions, this project creates an exhibition hall for loquat industry in TangQi ancient town, to be the important junction point of cultural tourism in TangQi ancient Town.
The project is a renovation design of an existing building in the ancient town, construction area 1153.2 square meters. It is neighboring to HeSiJing Memorial Hall in the west. the main street in the south and the inner courtyard in the north.The second floor of the original building is glazed with sky light, The first floor comes low and dark.
As the building is located in the cultural belt of TangQi ancient town, Grand Canal, the treatment of the exterior style of the building is partially organically updated while respecting the unity of the original facade of the ancient town. The traditional style of the upper part of the facade is retained in the design, and the tartan doors and Windows on the second floor are completely retained. On the first floor, a more modern “four-in-a-translation wooden structure as DougGong” is used to form a rain galleria at the entrance, and the silhouette of loquat fruit is drawn on the back with perforated aluminum plates. The upper half belongs to the past and the lower half belongs to the present. Together, they establish an attitude response to the traditional town style.
The interior of the facade of this ancient town presents a completely different world from the outside. We hope that the interior of the museum will be an immersive utopia different from the outside world. Therefore, in this internal space, we broke the isolation boundary between the first and second floors, and placed an installation art body that runs through the first to the second floor, and named it “double ring”
The “ring” of the “heavy ring”： the circular atrium
The “double Ring” is a pure white multi-layer ring system, which consists of a series of ellipses of different heights and sizes. “Double Ring” creates an internal circular atrium. Due to the shape of “double ring” to the space, experiencers can gradually discover the space track and establish a circular travel process.
Like the ancient Chinese art scroll painting, observation unfolds very slowly and smoothly, and people will expand and explore space in the process of swimming with questions about the unknown. The circular atrium allows visitors to breathe a sigh of relief after the intensive content of the exhibition, and release themselves from the long hours of intensive reading, and instead focus on the perception of space, nature and light.
The circular plane structure of the exhibition space is a strong spatial prototype. From Wright’s Guggenheim gallery to Campo Baeza’s Granada Museum, the exhibition hall is essentially a design about the flow. The circular exhibition hall can be moved up and around through a wide atrium, connecting the floors with a gentle path, while the exhibition space can be arranged along the perimeter, giving visitors a clearly but naturally route to visit.
The challenge of loquat Museum design is that we need to apply a prototype space to transform the existing space. The circular atrium is not easy to built in there, it is limited by the existing structure, it needs to be built in an environment defined by the original order and scale of the existing structure.
This restriction leads to a more attractive aspect of the renovation — the effective response of the new structure to the old structure： on the one hand, since the atrium cannot form a complete and smooth circular ascending path, there must be feedback when the path faces the old beams and columns. But it also adds to the variety of ways we understand and interact with circular Spaces.
The variety can be divided into three levels： the first level is “homeopathy”. “Homeopathy” is the most basic reading relationship of annular atrium, which is the process of slowly moving forward along the curved wall surface. “The Double ring” is a reflection of a relationship of dislocation, “Double” is not means repetition, but a kind of “shadow” system, misalignment and deflection of a series of space gap, these gaps broke the boundary of two layers of space, and set up the connection of multiple dimensions, same as flowing air. It is also a kind of artificial “wonderful error” that gives more possibility behind the form, and is also the process that gives life to the simple geometric form of the ellipse.
Due to the dislocation system of the “double ring” itself, the traveling route of the visitors is not completely matched with the rings. Some rings will gradually go away from our path, while some rings will slowly approach us from a distance, which makes the simple circling process more poetic.
Through these gaps of the rings, visitors can also catch sight of the scenes at the coming or already passed space. The disappearance indicates the reappearance from another dimension, and this “reappearance” fragment establishes a contrapuntal relationship with the previously disappeared part in the spatial dimension. Therefore, in the process of visiting, “double ring” mixed a series of progress and distance, and establish a kind of memory retrospection through disappearance and reproduction, created a very unique feeling, familiar and unfamiliar feelings of space.
The second layer is “through”, on the another word “Crossing” is the vertical crossing relationship between path and “double loop”. The multiplicity of the “double ring” interface produces a state of overlapping. The “ring” is no longer a single layer of skin, but composed of gaps and Spaces. Therefore, the relationship of “crossing” is also meaningful. In the process of continuously passing through multiple walls, visitors get a completely unfamiliar perception of space, the thickness wall, the gap between the walls, the invisible space, all begin to emerge in the process of passing through.
During the tour, we ascended along the circular walls to a height of 1.2 meters, and then began to walk horizontally through the corridor in mid-air and through the walls. Also with visitors through the original structure, when the height of the walk is lifted, and the beam height is nearing the limit of using, as visitors are very close to the beam height, visitors can easily read the original beams through the process of arc wall, and how they worked together.
In the structure of the seemingly “Peter Eisenman type”, the old structure together with the new structure are painted white, destroy their differences on the material, and then simply keep the collision on the geometry and discrimination, and establish a “simple” pure dialogue, the original structure and the new structure could be the same important role.
The third layer is “trepanning”. We try to create the “pause” by the “joint”, the opening of the interface. which goes beyond the general prototype and is not often seen in the traditional circular atrium that pursues integrity. On the one hand, in the “double ring”layer, the “joint” adjusts the opening relationship so that the new system can adapt to the original frame; On the other hand, the “joint” is also the result of the active design of the narrative structure of the space. They are both frames of physical structure and spatial structure at the same time. “Pause” preserves the possibility of a temporary stay in the flow of the space. These cut hole allow visitors to pass through and goes disappear and in the “double ring” and then reappear and look back from another place.
The complexity of this experience makes it clear that the “double ring” is not a pure circular atrium with entirety views, but rather a narrative structure of fragments. When visitors are inside the building, there is no point from which they can see the whole picture of the installation, so it creates a relationship between a series of experiences, a collection of fragmentary progress, rather than a perception of the whole.
As a result, “Double ring” circular atrium is the most important about the experience. created the possibility of the space, let visitors arrived at a particular point of view, from a opening window to look back, the paths and the walls are interwoven into multiple layers circular atrium, we are overlooking the “mountains” finally.
The way of viewing is similar to the space in Chinese traditional gardens, The view frames and borrows scenery through forms. This “Double ring” circular atrium is a kind of “rockery” atrium, inside is tiny space, just like a Rockery to occupies a entity in the building, the light at the same time maximize the contraction of the medial, in and the complexity of the internal space build give a kind of “abstract nature”.
Another poetic sense is that all the narrative structures combine at the end. When visitors experience a complete perception of space, the true nature and green and bright light slowly unfold in front of them along the curved path. The transparent glass interface enables visitors to place themselves in outside natural scene. A corner of HeSijing Memorial Hall outside the window is also brought into the visitor’s vision. The two pavilions are so separated from each other but at that time, the old one and the new, the reality and the abstract, meet here now.