The 2020 Suzhou International Design Week is mainly in the Guanqian Street area, using the public space of Guanqian Street to arrange temporary buildings and exhibition halls. This time, the exhibition hall of the School of Architecture of Soochow University is the People‘s Market in Guanqian Street, and the content of the exhibition is the architectural model of the students of the School of Architecture. The incubation channel is a public and outdoor space for exhibition. It is designed as a box-shaped channel that can be assembled in various ways. According to the light environment at different times, viewers are placed in a space of constantly changing shadows. The shape of the channel symbolizes the place of incubation. It is built with egg trays and fish wires of low energy consumption, which is easy to be assembled and transported.
▲展厅空间 exhibition space
The site is on the top floor of the People’s Market in Guanqian Street, Suzhou. The exhibition space is forged by tunnels with immersive and gradually changing shadows. The square and spacious site extends in a straight line. Two egg tray with the same color and various lightness degrees constitute an enclosed space, extending in a straight manner. To create a sense of mystery and illusion, the trays demonstrate firm and robust morphology and closure. Hence, the exterior facades show no transparency, but they indicate orderly arrangements, smooth, flexible and fantastic colors.
▲展厅空间 exhibition space
The entire construction appears flowing vertically through a streamlined organization of the inner space, eliminating the unitary form of inherent and exterior corridors in constructions with slotted morphology. The widely open entrance directly leads people into the space of exhibition. Different building models exhibited on the ground associate viewers with emotional fluctuations of “doubt and curiosity–opening mind–sudden enlightenment”, thereby forming the complete sequence of appreciation and spacial variations. The top of the space has irregularly arranged openings for better lighting. With mottled shadows permeating through the channel, it appears as if the channel was covered with a thin layer of gold fragments, creating a sense of fantasy and mystery in the deepness and tranquility.
About the concept： “Incubation” is needed in every stage
The theme of the urban design is “incubation channel”. We think that every stage of life needs to be designed with great care, so we hope it can match this process in terms of concept. “Incubation” refers to animals‘ eggs being hatched after embryonic development. Inspired by this concept, we aim to create a purely immersive space of exhibiting achievements in various phases, in order to fully demonstrate superior construction models. The concept itself is also simplistic. The eggs signify hope and trays refer to being hatched： only accumulations of multiple stages can lead to a better future.
▲概念轴测图 concept diagram
About space： The sense of purity shown by lines
Straight through the corridor, the 3m tall box-shaped channel naturally guides viewers’ sight into the exhibition hall. The inner walls of the channel are made of paper trays. The straight lines associate people‘s sight with perception. To obtain more height, the space of exhibition is close to the steel beam structures. All the top structures and wall surfaces are yellow to the eyes of viewers. The extension of space is perceived visually, so that viewers can appreciate the artworks with more accuracy and liberty.
▲展厅空间 exhibition space
▲展陈模型 exhibition model
About experience： immersive space
After crossing a simplistic facade, viewers can reach the immersive space hidden behind it. This method of design can create a sense of mystery and marvel. Various interfaces are closely and tightly connected by the strings. They constitute the fragile space of the channel, prolong the time of viewers staying, and provide the chance of stopping for“immersion”. Within the space of the channel, the flopping egg trays are both surfaces and supporting structures. The rays of light cast through the gaps of facades and form the shadows, gradually producing fantastic visual effects on the surface of space.
▲展厅空间 exhibition space
About construction： simplify procedures for saving time
According to field surveys, we find the original top structure of the terrace of the six-story shopping mall consists of used canopy steel frames, which can be retained as the point of strength for suspending the egg trays. Considering the 6m span of the original top structure is too wide to connect the supporting frames, we add more steel balls to form an extra layer of steel beam to serve as the primary structure for suspending the egg trays. The perfect connection between old and new materials also requires metal nets on the top, so that egg trays can be put on the top of the nets and appear neat and tidy. The suspensions on both sides of the channel string the trays on fish wires. They look as if the curtains hung on the steel beams. Due to the short duration of construction, it only took the students three days to finish building the channel, thus forging a secret area for viewers to wander.
▲搭建拆解图 construction guide drawing
▲施工步骤 construction process
▲施工现场 construction process
About the materials： oriented by low carbon and energy-saving
We utilize recyclable materials in the actual representation of space–paper egg trays. The egg containers are creatively bound by fish wires, which look as if curtains hung on the steel beams and form the enclosed walls on both sides of the site. The unprocessed materials are piled one layer upon another to achieve zero waste and 100% recyclability. Among the materials, the cabinets of model exhibition also show different forms through combining the egg trays. The incubation channel serves as the temporary art device in the seven-day exhibition, which is quite light and convenient to be transported and installed. No base or foundation is needed, thus reducing damage to the environment. After the exhibition, the incubation channel can either be moved to other places, or the egg trays can be reused again, which eliminating the waste of materials.
▲材料测试 material test
▲通道分析图elevation and plan
设计团队：王乙童 杨楠 肖明峰 肖湘东
Project name：2020 Suzhou International Design Week Soochow University Exhibition Hall： Incubation Channel
Designer：Parallect Design. School of Architecture, Soochow University
Project design&year of completion：2020.10
design team：Wang Yitong, Yang Nan, Xiao Mingfeng, Xiao Xiangdong
Project construction：Liang Zhaocheng, Qian Yiren, Xu Anqi, Chu Butian, Feng Hanrui, Wang Chen, Tao Ye, Peng Yiwen, Li Haojie, Feng Min, Liu Jingzhi, Zhao Chunxu, Wang Chenzhe, Liang Yunhan, Wu Xinghui, Zheng Yuejia, Yang Lanxin, Yi Yutian, Gu Lei, Gu Xuan, Jiang Yin, Deng Wuxinzi.
Project address：the top floor of the People‘s Market in Guanqian Street, Suzhou.
Area of construction：120 ㎡
Photography copyright：Yao Qijie
Client：Suzhou Design Week