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Architecture

Xuhui Demonstrative Project / SUP Atelier


Courtyard surrounded by living room and book house. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

Courtyard surrounded by living room and book house. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang
  • Architects: SUP Atelier
  • Location: Shunyi District, Beijing, China
  • Architect In Charge: Yehao Song
  • Design Team: Xiaojuan Chen, Dan Xie, Jingfen Sun, Zhenghao Lin, Yingnan Chu, Dongchen Han, Haowei Yu, Liangang Tong
  • Area: 157.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2017
  • Photographs: Su Chen, Chun Fang
  • Collaborators: Qingguang Yu, Xiaoyan Sun, Rongxiang Shi, Gaolou Li, Yue Zhang
  • Lighting Design: X Studio, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University
  • Landscape Design: DDON
  • Building Intelligent Control System: Huaguangyuan, Phantom
  • Clients: CIFI Group

Birdview. Image Courtesy of SUP Atelier

Birdview. Image Courtesy of SUP Atelier

Text description provided by the architects. Located in Xuhui No.26 Block in Shunyi District of Beijing, the project was commissioned by Xuhui Group’s Beijing office to create a small-scale sharing space in a leisure park. Powered by the sharing economy in vogue, the space can be booked by residents through an intelligence system. Moreover, through collaboration with BREEAM system in UK and LEED system in the US, the project serves as a zero-energy consumption demonstrative project in cold areas of North China, aiming to reduce energy consumption, improve thermal comfort, and promote sustainability through theme activities of mitigating the increasingly severe environmental problems.


Public living room. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

Public living room. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

floor plan

floor plan

Fitness house facing the garden. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

Fitness house facing the garden. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

 The project borders a community playground on the south. Unlike the centralized layout often seen in sustainable projects, the main building consists of 3 similar units that are scattered among trees as small-scaled landscape buildings: a fitness center, a lounge and a book cafe (doubling as a showroom of popular science), which can be operated separately. The 3 units center on a sunken courtyard paved with permeable gravel. Users can enter this small building cluster via a wooden walkway through the rain garden. The overhead wooden walkway and the pipe trenches underneath connects the 3 units with a half-earthed energy & smart control center, forming a “3 driven by 1” mode.


module diagram

module diagram

sustainable design technical diagram 01-structural

sustainable design technical diagram 01-structural

Main structures of prefabricated timberwork and louvers of prefabricated carbonized wood correspond to the zero-carbon concept from perspectives of materials and construction. Architectural elements of the 3 units were classified into various groups of standardized modules with green technology. Through modification and combination, these modules can adapt to various spaces and facilitate comparative studies and promotion of sustainable technologies.


Public living area. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

Public living area. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

As an experimental platform for prefabricated buildings with zero energy consumption, the project has established an integrated mechanism of “design-construction-test-feedback” process. With the help of information technology, the analysis of sustainable indicators can bring forth implementation methods, which can fit in newly built and renovated buildings in cold areas, or serve as prototypes in both public and housing projects.


Fitness house interior. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

Fitness house interior. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

Fitness house interior. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

Fitness house interior. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

This project is located in a cold area, where heating and cooling energy consumption are both huge. High-performance envelopes with thermal indicators greatly outperforming the minimum code. Passive design strategies, such as projected roofs with air-ducting devices and composite façades with photovoltaic double glazing and prefabricated double-layered wooden envelope, which can boost natural ventilation.


Ventilation and lighting area with colorful glass. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

Ventilation and lighting area with colorful glass. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

The applications of renewable energy include film glass, photovoltaic power generation, and a hybrid heating system powered by both solar thermal power and air-source heat pump. Sustainable drainage strategies have been integrated into the landscape, too: Green roofs and a permeable courtyard can purify and retain rainwater.


Double layer structure. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

Double layer structure. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

Detail. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

Detail. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

The buildings are equipped with intelligence control systems. Through real-time monitoring of the environmental indicators (temperature, humidity, illumination, CO2, PM 2.5, infrared rays), the energy system can be controlled automatically to save energy and reduce emission. The public can view the real-time indicators, too.


Courtyard surrounded by fitness house and book house. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

Courtyard surrounded by fitness house and book house. Image © Su Chen, Chun Fang

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Architecture

“The light of Buddha” exhibition / studio O


Entrance installation. Image © Mathias Magg

Entrance installation. Image © Mathias Magg

Central pavilion. Image © Mathias Magg

Central pavilion. Image © Mathias Magg

“The Light of Buddha” is the first exhibition of a private collection ever allowed in the Palace Museum, commonly known as the Forbidden City. studio O was commissioned by Beijing-based Zhiguan Gallery (止观美术馆) to develop the exhibition design and retrofit installation system for the display of 112 antique Buddhist sculptures spanning from the 4th  century a.d. to 16th  a.d.  from the Himalayan regions (Pakistan, North India, Nepal, Tibet)

Occupying the entirety of the Palace of Abstinence, the exhibition is located in the northeastern quadrant of the Forbidden City. Within the Palace, the collection of Buddhist sculptures is displayed between two main pavilions:

 Zhai Gong (Hall of Abstinence, 斋宫) to south and Cheng Su Dian (Hall of Sincerity, 诚肃殿) to north. The exterior spaces are also included in the design and create a path for visitors to move clockwise through the space from the outer-courtyard inward.


Master plan

Master plan

The exhibition begins with a metaphorical dialogue between the visitor, the first installation and the backdrop of the Forbidden City – it is a journey that guides the viewer to the place from where the exhibited sculptures originate. Abstractly representing the eight most significant peaks of the Himalayan mountain range, audiences encounter eight 2.5 meter-tall white steel pillars upon entering the exhibition courtyard. By proportionally reducing the heights of these peaks to human scale, the peaks seem within reach. As nature often exists beyond our scale, subverting the great difference between man and nature allows us an opportunity to reflect on human existence.


North pavilion. Image © Mathias Magg

North pavilion. Image © Mathias Magg

Cross section_north pavilion

Cross section_north pavilion

North pavilion view of central sculpture. Image © Mathias Magg

North pavilion view of central sculpture. Image © Mathias Magg

The journey continues through the second courtyard and then into the Zhai Gong(斋宫) pavilion, where it meets the first part of the exhibition. Here, like in the Cheng Su Dian(诚肃殿) pavilion, the sculptures are set along the space’s interior perimeter and presented within customized system of vitrines. By creating a neutral and almost invisible background, the visitor can intimately experience the artworks through a series of small openings that reveal each figurine. The exhibition design can be experienced and viewed as a whole, yet simultaneously also presents the opportunity for unique, personalized journeys for each visitor and with each sculpture. It is as if the exhibition layout is designed to protect the sculptures – creating a sequence where fragments of history are viewed and appreciated through “frames.” Frames that are perceived as tridimensional paintings in which the antique sculptures transmit timeless narratives of history and culture.


Fitting system axonometric phase

Fitting system axonometric phase

Fitting system axonometric phase

Fitting system axonometric phase

Throughout the design process, studio O remained committed to creating a discreet environment suitable for exhibiting the utmost refined craftsmanship of the ancient Himalayan masters. In order to create an intimate environment that considers yet re-evaluates the existing interior conditions, lighting plays a decisive role. The existing lighting conditions due to the wide-glass window displays were not suitable for viewing the private collection. Therefore, studio O controls the amount of ambient light and focuses it on the precise openings within a series of vertical, black, self-standing panels. These panels also serve as a temporary design system that accommodates the original building structure without demolishing existing walls, and further allows freedom for defining the size and position of each display opening. They incorporate a flexible lighting system that is built into metal frame and designed specifically for each sculpture.


South pavilion. Image © Mathias Magg

South pavilion. Image © Mathias Magg

As each spatial experience depends on our arrival in it, passing from the first exhibition hall section into the second allows viewers to further reconsider their conceptions of space. The installation in the central pavilion thus serves as a link, and a point of restful contemplation between the two pavilions. Mirroring the pilgrimage Buddhist monks make to the Himalayan region, the fabric installation, comprised of 135 layers of textile, welcomes visitors into the calm, peaceful and timeless space of a lit tunnel as an allegory of an inner reflection. After visiting the last exhibition hall, the journey is concluded via the passage through the adjacent courtyard and then back to the entrance. A progressive movement through the ancient architecture before returning to the outer world.

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Architecture

Foster + Partners’ Tulip Towers Could Pose Risks to Air Traffic Control


Courtesy of DBOX for Foster + Partners

Courtesy of DBOX for Foster + Partners

Blossoming alongside the iconic Gherkin building, Foster + PartnersTulip Tower has been planning to join London’s skyline since they released their proposal earlier in November. However, construction of the1,000-foot tower has been halted until officials can determine its impact on aircraft radar systems at London City airport, six miles away. Featuring mobile gondolas in the form of three-meter wide glass spheres intended for visitor rides on an elliptical journey around the tower, the proposed viewing platform is potentially highly problematic.


Courtesy of DBOX for Foster + Partners

Courtesy of DBOX for Foster + Partners

Though London is not new to mobile structures, such as the London Eye that sits in the midst of the city, Foster + Partners proposal is over twice its size. The movement from the gondolas can confuse the air traffic control systems, according to the technical experts at London City airport, who stated, “The gondolas will be moving and therefore may have a slightly different effect than a static element of the building.”

In a global city like London, it would seem that a major addition to the skyline would face greater zoning standards or building regulations in the initial design stage itself, that would prohibit such a situation from occurring. Rather than being unprecedented, designing moving structures at such a height is deemed to be an obvious source of issue for any project whether or not there is an airport nearby.


Courtesy of DBOX for Foster + Partners

Courtesy of DBOX for Foster + Partners

Not only posing risks in the airspace, but the building’s design itself has also attracted opposition from residents and members on the planning committee. Anastasia Shteyn, during a City of London public consultation, commented: “I don’t understand why we need this phallic-shaped attraction, with little aesthetic merit. As a resident of Petticoat Tower, I object to this construction project. It will create noise and turn the neighborhood into a construction site for years to come, affecting property prices and residents’ daily comfort.”

The project, with its provocative design, is sure to instigate some objections and promises for an interesting turn of outcomes. 

News via The Guardian

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Architecture

CK House / Christiana Karagiorgi Architects


© Maria Efthumiou, CreativePhotoRoom

© Maria Efthumiou, CreativePhotoRoom
  • Collaborators: Alpha Ioannou Construction, Thermocool Mechanical Constructors, Pkz Electrical Constructors, L. Karkas Aluminium Constructors, S. Kousioulos Carpentry Constructors
  • Consultants: Nikolaou Engineering Civil & Structural Design, M. Mourouzides Consulting Engineers, Double N Consulting Engineers, N. Onisiforou Quantity Surveyors
  • Budjet: €800.000

© Maria Efthumiou, CreativePhotoRoom

© Maria Efthumiou, CreativePhotoRoom

Text description provided by the architects. The project’s site is located on a riverside plot with a big inclination and a dominant landscape surrounding. The main idea of the design was to bring the landscape views inside the house – thus creating different perspectives of nature through every living space.


© Maria Efthumiou, CreativePhotoRoom

© Maria Efthumiou, CreativePhotoRoom

Ground floor plan

Ground floor plan

© Maria Efthumiou, CreativePhotoRoom

© Maria Efthumiou, CreativePhotoRoom

The program was developed in 3 levels whereas different level exterior spaces were designed to serve everyday life during different weather conditions. Two main yards are created in the north and south in two separated levels (upper and lower).
The entrance is situated on the back of the volume. A long suspended pathway parallel to a featured rock wall suggests a cinematic movement along the site, for the visitor to intrude to the surrounding views.


© Maria Efthumiou, CreativePhotoRoom

© Maria Efthumiou, CreativePhotoRoom

The building looks like a fortress from the back site – a solid white volume with rectangular frames put randomly on its surface. Each frame works as a nature canvas for the interior spaces.  The feeling of the inhabitant is freedom, openness and security – requirements that had been set from the beginning.


© Maria Efthumiou, CreativePhotoRoom

© Maria Efthumiou, CreativePhotoRoom

The main house level is set to be lower in relation to the city level. Therefore the south yard with the swimming pool is protected from the public views. The house’s big scale is not obvious from the road, a fact that was one of the main ideas of the design.


© Maria Efthumiou, CreativePhotoRoom

© Maria Efthumiou, CreativePhotoRoom

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