All things flow in time, and the process of flow forms history. The frozen architecture also flows in time, and the flowing process forms the history of the site. During this period, architects seek for the balance between the past and the present, and hand over the answer to the future.
Chengdu City Ecological Park · Agricultural Science Popularization and Education Base is located in the second phase of Chengdu Qinglong Lake Wetland Park. Archermit has been entrusted by the owner to transform the original building into an agricultural science popularization and education base for visitors. The original buildings are the abandoned Qinglonghu Primary school and a breeding farm, typical of red brick houses. As the site has been planned as a wetland park, the abandoned buildings are in urgent need of changing their identity to welcome visitors to the park. We look forward to making the decaying red brick house glow with new vigor and vitality through the power of design.
Since 2018, Chengdu “park city” put forward new ideas and new urban development mode, Chengdu rearranged the city space around Chengdu beltway, “Green belt” goes through 78 bridges connecting the entire 121 garden ecological park around the city, which built a convenient bridge between natural resources and citizen leisure life.
Floating seeds of Qinglong Lake where is located in ecological park has space requirements of the experience of the science and research, in which we take the circulation that everything grows as the architectural image. Through the extraction of farm crop growth status as design elements, adopting the common materials such as polycarbonate panels, ceramic tile, red brick, make construction present a new era, the free flow of breath.
Site analysis is the core of urban renewal project. How to balance “maintain” and “renovate” is the focus of this kind of project with complex site situation. Architecture part: Some buildings were not damaged greatly and could continue to be used after repair. Part of the building walls were damaged, roof disrepair, part of the structure cannot meet the use requirements; There are also some columns collapsed, walls tilted are very serious, there is a great potential safety hazard.
Landscape part: the site has been abandoned for years, the interior is overgrown with weeds, the original plane trees grow well; The original hardened road surface is seriously damaged; The enclosure completely isolates the site from the outside farmland and park, affecting people’s participation in the experience.
In order to give the building a sense of place where the old and the new are alternating and flowing freely, we made the site open to the coming visitors in the renovation design. The original collapsed buildings and red brick walls were removed, and the old red bricks flowed in every corner of the site, changing from vertical wall enclosure to horizontal pavement. The old bricks grew and spread in the site in a new direction. The same is true for the use of discarded concrete blocks, which are broken up and used as landscape stepping stones. Removed the original enclosed walls of the site open to visitors, attracting tourists from all sides to visit this tour.
In architectural renovation, we pay attention to whether the material is compatible with the original building and whether it is economical and suitable. We hope that the renovated place will be more inclusive and open, so we pay special attention to whether the material itself has transparent and light texture. Based on the memory of the site, we finally chose polycarbonate panel, red brick, terra-cotta tiles and other materials to carry out targeted transformation of several buildings.
Polycarbonate panel is a building material widely used in rural and agricultural supporting facilities, with excellent performance of light transmission, light, weather resistance, flame retardant, sound insulation, high strength, and low price, very suitable for low-cost and low-technology building applications. Red brick and terracotta tiles are the blood and memory of the original building deserve to be maintained.
We demolished the collapsed building and built a new agricultural machinery exhibition shed on the site. Transparent polycarbonate panel and delicate white steel structure create a crystal clear, light and soft open space.
Two buildings in good condition were transformed into exhibition halls of modern agriculture and farming culture. The red brick masonry and wooden roof frame were all maintained and partially repaired, and the gray terracotta tiles were replaced on the roof. At the same time, the polycarbonate panel is applied to part ceiling, wall, doors and Windows, giving the building a light and hazy texture, weakening the thick sense brought by red brick masonry, making the building present a state of integration of old and new.
We used steel and polycarbonate panels between the two old buildings to create a set of transparent cubes of varying sizes suspended in the air, in the image of seeds and Kongming lanterns, as the visual focus of the site. During the day the cubes are like seeds rising from cracks in the red brick and flying into the sky, shining brightly against the sun. At night, warm yellow light through the polycarbonate board box, bringing a bright floating feeling, dreamly like Kongming lanterns frozen in the sky.
The historian Di Wang believes that history and culture are the soul of a city, and how to make this soul survive under the impact of modernization, commercialization and technology is a problem that city managers, scholars and residents should consider. At the same time, this is also an issue that architects should focus on when facing urban renewal projects.
In our opinion, when carrying out this kind of renovation project, attention should be paid to distinguish the similarities and differences of “old”, “broken” and “dilapidated “. “Old” is antiquated, it’s not derogatory but full of history; “Broken” means that the whole thing is damaged and becomes incomplete, which can be repaired on the original basis. “dilapidated ” is irretrievably gone. After distinguishing the three differences, different strategies can be adopted in the face of different old building
In the face of irreversible urbanization, architects should think more about humanity. Architecture is never just architecture itself, it’s not only congealed art, but also an epic written with wisdom and passion. Floating seeds of Qinglong Lake is a small seed we planted in the process of urban renewal. We hope that this “Floating seeds” can express our attitude and thinking about urban renewal, and also hope that this it can arouse more urban participants to think about the city they live in. In their own way to protect those precious “urban culture” does not disappear in the process of urbanization.
Project leader team: Archermit
Principal Architect: Pan Youcai
Design Director: Zhe Yang (partner)
Technical Director: Chen Renzhen (Partner)
Structural Consultant: Du Xu
Design team: Feng Yutao, Song Zhiying, Yang Rui, Gou Yuanjun, He Yi, Zhao Yaxian, Liu Zixuan, Hu Qinmei
Construction drawing design team: Chengdu Meisha Architectural Design Co., LTD
Exhibition design and construction: Shanghai UKER Architectural Design Co., Ltd、Zhongcheng Difeng Construction Engineering Co., LTD
Owner: Chengdu Tianfu Greenway Construction Investment Group Co., LTD
Representatives of the owners: Pan Xia, Hu Qiang, Wang Chao, Zhai Lingxi
Construction unit: Sichuan Jincheng Zhixin Construction Engineering Co., LTD
Article: Liu Kairui
Translation: Liu Zixuan
Project Address: Second Phase Qinglong Lake Wetland Park, Chengdu, Sichuan Province
Gross floor area: 2,042 square meters
Design time: February 2021 — May 2022