Ascentage Pharmaceutical Headquarters is a new 147,000m2 modern R&D and manufacturing complex in Suzhou for a young Hong Kong listed pharmaceutical company. Symbolizing the aspirations of Ascentage’s culture whose cutting-edge research in Biotechnology has developed promising new cancer drugs to improve the lifestyles of a future generation afflicted with diseases once thought untreatable or incurable; the state-of-the-art campus was realized using some of the most technologically advanced digital design and fabrication tools.
Open, clean, and modern, the public and employee programmed volumes of the new campus’ seven buildings are discrete curvilinear shapes, soft in nature, elevated above a glass base in a floating composition over a black granite clad reflecting pool facing the main Xinqing Road. The 80m tall R&D and Administration Building, the new iconic symbol of Ascentage sits proudly at the intersection of the busy southwest corner of the site on Xinqing Road, in proximity to a new mass transit subway station.
Inspired by the benzene ring of the chemical formula used to annotate the planar bonds of the six carbon and hydrogen molecules, each building volume’s façade is carefully designed using the benzene ring hexagon as the source form, which is then engineered to fold parametrically bonding around the seven different building volumes. These parametrically modeled facades using adaptive BIM families were then digitally fabricated using Ultra High Strength Concrete panels and anodized aluminum nodes and extrusions affording distinct façade designs for optimal balance of visual transparency and privacy.
Together with new high-tech research labs and an expansive advanced manufacturing fit out bathed with ample diffuse natural light filtering from its translucent roof, the distinctly programmed composition of the projects’ buildings on the 60,870m2 site, create a singular campus and new identity for Ascentage’s promising future.
Design: 2016-2020 Construction: 2018-2022
Nestled in the footsteps of the Yuhua Jinhua mountains in the countryside of Anji county is the new AnjiPlay Kindergarten and International Child Care Center. Anchoring the education complex comprised of research and teaching centers, an AnjiPlay Museum, convention center and dorms, is the AnjiPlay early childhood kindergarten, the flagship of educator, Ms. Cheng Xueqin’s self-determinate, play based curriculum schools for 3 to 6 year olds.
Love, risk, joy, engagement, reflection are the guiding principles of AnjiPlay. Maximizing the opportunities for imaginative play and contact with natural elements and phenomena requires a predominant presence of nature embracing a humble architecture. Earth, water, sky, trees, bamboo, hills, tunnels and ditches are among the integrated environmental elements that engage children in endless exploration, allowing each child to take ownership of discovery and learning through “True Play.”
Architecture, is one of the environmental elements that affords complexity in terms of spatial experience and shelter. With the overlapping blending of the natural and architectural elements, new opportunities, phenomena and experiences are constantly created for play and learning. AnjiPlay architecture though must be in its elemental form, simple enough to allow for phenomena to be experienced, not dictated, trusting and engaging children in learning from their natural environment.
The Anji Campus design is the result of experimental play, following the manner of the 21st century early childhood education movement. Founded by Cheng Xueqin, Anji Play begins with the introduction of “large, minimally structured materials within an open-ended, minimally structured environment” and the right of self-determined play. In exercising these rights to space, freedom, materials and time, the children develop play intentions that manifest themselves in “high degrees of complexity.”
In the same manner that the children, left to their own devices, seek to “eliminate factors that stifle play intentions,” so does the architecture of Anji Campus. The prerequisites to the design process derive from the fundamentals of Cheng Xueqin’s philosophy: children have a right of “access to open-ended environments that do not determine or direct the experience or outcome of play… environments that are carefully designed to maximize discovery and problem solving but not lead to specific outcomes or insights…that allow children to challenge themselves at their own level of self-determined risk…[and] that provide access to the natural world as much as possible.”
In fulfillment of these rights is a neutral architecture with the ecology in the foreground, and a fluidity between the spaces. Located in Anji County in the Zhejiang province of China, the site is diverse in its topography and natural elements.
Within the traditional context analysis arises a natural playscape of five clusters, with a ramp of Anji bamboo connecting. The five clusters dissolve into sixteen homerooms, sharing a common building block but remaining unique in form. The homeroom becomes not only an uninhibited space to play and learn and grow, but a home to its children.
• Winner of the 2016 AIANYS Award of Merit: Architecture/Institutional. • Winner of the 2016 German Design Council Iconic Award Best of Best: Museum Architecture. • Shortlist Finalist for the 2016 World Architecture Festival: Culture/Completed Buildings. • Winner of the 2015 Concrete Industry Board: Roger H. Corbetta Award of Merit, Out of Country. • Financial Times – Simon Schama’s 10 Forgotten Wonders of the World • Artinfo – Top 5 New Museums in Asia 2016
Located in the historic scenic water town, of Wuzhen in northern Zhejiang Province, the 7,000m2 art museum is dedicated to the renowned hometown artist/writer Mu Xin.
Mu Xin, was a complex and inspiring figure, he was not only a celebrated artist of abstract landscapes and paintings but equally accomplished as a scholar, poet and writer.
The building, is not only inspired by the complexity of the artist’s work but also his writing which was deeply impacted by the consecutive imprisonment he experienced during the Cultural Revolution in the early 1970’s and his ultimate exiling to the West. Influenced by these experiences and his scholarly upbringing, Mu Xin created space. Space, not only in the evocative multilayered painting of abstract landscapes but also in his writings reflecting the mental expansion of the mind within real physical constraints.
The ancient Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal nurtured the splendid culture of Wuzhen, and the long historical value of the well preserved city south of Yangtze River. To this day, one experiences a dense landscape of centuries old canals, streets, markets, courtyards, bridges and verandas. Taking a cue from the urban fabric of the 1,000 year old ancient water town of Mu Xin’s childhood, the museum itself is a landscape of intersecting experiences. A series of cast in place colored architectural concrete volumes in varying sectional relationship to the canal and “street,” house these experiences as singular galleries and program elements inviting visitors to wander through the “landscape.”
With the ever changing quality of the spaces created by the intersection of the volumes, “street” boundaries and the water’s edge, the visitor experiences an expansion of space not only in the physical realm but also as a bridge into the complex world of Mu Xin.
Palace Museum Exhibition
Palace Museum Exhibition
Design: 2022 Construction: 2022
Beijing, China (Fall, 2022) – Mirroring the Heart of Heaven and Earth: Ideals and Images in the Chinese Study, an exhibition designed by New York-based firm OLI Architecture, has opened in the Palace Museum. Located in the center of the 72-hectare complex in the Forbidden City, built in the fifteenth century, the museum houses one of the world’s largest collections of ancient Chinese artifacts, calligraphy, paintings, and porcelain. Working closely with curators at The Palace Museum, OLI Architecture has created a space that brings together art and objects spanning from antiquity to contemporary art within the historical architecture.
Housed in the Meridian Gate Galleries, Mirroring the Heart of Heaven and Earth centers on the evolving role of the scholar throughout Chinese history, exploring the relationship to the court, to other scholars, the natural world, and the universe. The exhibition brings together a hundred and six works ranging from antiquities to contemporary art, including books, scrolls, vases, sculptures, paintings, screens, cups, and seals. Alongside the art, the displays also include materials such as brushes, ink, and paper ranging from the 6th to the 21st centuries. The three gallery wings are divided into three chapters titled “Chapter One: Sanctuary of Literature and Music,” “Chapter Two: A Channel for Enlightenment,” and “Chapter Three: A Bond of Companionship.” With themes respectively around a spiritual haven, self-cultivation and the bond between humanity and nature and the appreciation of the finitude of life against the infinity of the universe.
The exhibition encourages a dialogue between heritage objects and modern artworks. For instance, a plaque bearing the words ‘Chamber of the Five Classics’ in the Qianlong Emperor’s hand that typically hangs in an annex hall to the east of the Palace of Heavenly Purity, which served as the imperial study is prominently displayed in the west wing at the beginning of the exhibition. The Five Classics include some of the oldest surviving Chinese texts and are the central works of Confucianism.
Founding Partner Hiroshi Okamoto remarks, “Our office often works with contemporary art and artists. It was a challenge to design this remarkable exhibition with pieces from famous contemporary artists paired with such rare and prominent antiquities. When we started the project the idea of the scroll and the ephemerality of paper became a central concept.
Where the art and antiquities were displayed on a transparent softly glowing surface which flowed from the vertical to the horizontal at the datum of a scholar’s table height giving the viewer an intimate experience.”
Contemporary artists represented include:
– Liu Dan (b. 1953) an ink painter trained in traditional style ink painting, he lives and works in Beijing, China. – Xu Bing (b. 1955) is a multi-media artist known for his calligraphy and printmaking, who divides his time between New York City and Beijing. – Xu Lei (b. 1963) an ink painter heavily involved in China’s 1980’s New Wave movement who currently serves as the Art Director of Beijing’s Today Art Museum. – Bai Ming (b. 1965) a ceramicist and painter who teaches at Tsinghua University in Beijing. – Young Ho Chang (b. 1956) an award-winning architect and researcher who is currently a professor of architecture at MIT.
BSM Service Center
BSM Service Center
Design: 2020-Ongoing Construction: 2022-Ongoing
Changxing County Xiaopu Town Smart Village Management Service Center is located in the scenic area of Baduqian, Xiaopu Town, Changxing County. It will serve four natural villages, namely, Dajiakou, Panlinan, Fangyan and Fangyi. The building of the service center is located on the shore of Badu Weir. Like a floating village among ginkgo trees, it will provide services to the villagers, and will also become a new landmark and attraction in the Badu Qin scenic area.
The architectural design concept of the service center originates from the beautiful and spectacular ancient ginkgoes in the Baduyan Scenic Area. The central building consists of tall wooden pillars shaped like the trunk of a ginkgo tree, connected by a platform and a roof. The center consists of a cluster of buildings with different functions, connected by a network of columns and lifted up to ensure an unobstructed view of the surrounding water and trees. The buildings with different functions are connected by yellow platforms, among which there are small ginkgo gardens, sun corridors and communication spaces. The roof, supported by wooden columns, is made of polycarbonate, and the ceiling is made of colored wooden strips, where the sunlight is dispersed and shines softly on the ground, as if it were a crystal clear ginkgo tree in autumn.
The largest space is the multi-functional hall, which can hold large wedding banquets of 450 people. The perimeter of the banquet hall is slightly stepped, and the space can be divided or combined to hold events of different scales.
The design will use old wood as much as possible to increase the sustainability of the project and to echo the surrounding ginkgo trees and the old timber frame house. Some structures can be prefabricated and assembled on-site to speed up construction. Wooden structures will also bring a comfortable sense of nature and warmth to people, moving their heart and reducing their stress.
The Smart Village Management Service Center in Xiaopu Town will be an environmentally friendly, comfortable, natural and people-oriented center for villagers and will receive guests from all over the world around the clock, becoming an important landmark attraction in the Badujiao scenic area.
The design concept of the Han and Wei Luoyang City Site Museum is to place architecture between the sky and the earth, and to be built upon the past. It is based on and inspired by the urban layout, architecture aesthetics, Chinese character aesthetics, statue aesthetics and landscape aesthetics of the Han and Wei dynasties of Luoyang. By regrouping and reinterpreting these elements, we formed a new architectural and landscape space with contemporary characteristics.
Adhering to Han and Wei ancestors’ artistic spirit of shifting from formal resemblance to spiritual resemblance, the building pursues air, rhythm, form and spirit, blending architecture and landscape, straight lines and curves, solid and virtual bodies.
The appearance of the building is solemn and elegant, and the layout of space is open and smooth. It is an international heritage museum for the world to understand the Han and Wei dynasties and to feel the genes of Chinese culture.
Our concept drew inspiration from Abogen’s research stage work with genomes, understanding them as the foundational building blocks of the human body. The representation of chromosomes are simple geometric forms, links, which when aggregated generate complex geometries and patterns. Each part is a module of the whole, which allows for complex yet controlled scaling. The design for the Abogen center too begins with simple geometries and forms (the building blocks of architecture), which are then deployed across the site at a range of scales to serve different functions creating a beautiful, functional complex from the basis of a simple 60° angle. The HQ and R+D buildings are sited at the intersection of the main road, making them the face of the project, whilst affording views back to the Wusong River. The production buildings are then arrayed around the principal buildings on the east of the site. This creates the opportunity for a protected park space to function as the connector between buildings. This vision synthesizes the fundamental forms of architecture and nature, to create a building complex serving the frontiers of science and biotechnology.
Design: 2016-2018 Construction: 2022
Anchoring the ring of new civic buildings bordering between the newly-planned Central Park and developing Central Business District, the Chengdu Ink Painting Museum appears like a painting hovering above the undulating mounds of the Central Park. The museum contains an invaluable collection amassed by the founder of the Fortune 500 company of 20th-century Chinese ink wash painting masterpieces, a revered art form practiced by scholar gentlemen and literati and is elevated above a valley landscape reminiscent of the favored subject for many artists.
Looking closer, the valley which cuts across the axis of the residential and commercial headquarters of the Guanghui development is programmed with retail and public amenities, which become the base support of the two-story museum gallery wing that hovers above. The layered walls and partitions of the galleries and open circulation spaces are hidden behind multiple layers on the facade facing the Central Park, the bronze pattern reminiscent of the great ancient bronze civilizations of Chengdu. Within the natural landscape, the galleries face the Central Park reminiscent of Chengdu’s past while the East facade projects toward the glass and steel towers of the Central Business District, the new future of Chengdu.
Xiuwu in northern Henan province is an ancient county famous for natural scenic tourism but a new economy has started blossoming promoting aesthetic architecture, crafted urban products and development. Anchoring the new district developing around the recently completed Xiuwu West high speed rail station in Xiuwu County, Henan Province is the new 33,960m2 China Hanfu Cultural Center. Home of the “Never Ending Hanfu Festival,” the new center is influenced by traditional Han costumes based on lightness and simplicity, emphasizing the harmony between man and nature. Yet, in line with the ethos of the growing modern Hanfu culture, the center is a new interpretation of the essence of traditional culture in a contemporary context combining art, design and fashion and the aesthetic taste of the younger generation.
Located southeast of the high-speed rail station on the south side of Fensghou Road, and north of the highway, the Cultural Center is strategically located to anchor the development of a series of planned amenities promoting Hanfu culture becoming a new “capital of Hanfu” that will attract people from cities far and wide across China. Billowing in the gentle Xiuwu breeze, the Hanfu Cultural Center, clad in custom colored HDPE mesh, welcomes and entrances visitors while environmentally reducing solar heat gain on the three main volumes of the Cultural Center it wraps.
The largest volume contains main exhibition halls on three floors each with 2,800m2 with 12m column spans. The other two volumes contain exhibition halls on the first floor, multifunction halls on the second floor and a lecture hall and banquet hall on the 3rd floor with larger uninterrupted spans. All major functions provide flexible floor space to provide over 15,000m2 of exhibition space.
In the center of the three main volumes is a central glass encased atrium with colorful loggias reminiscent of the famous cave dwellings nearby north of Xiuwu. A series of dynamically arranged vertical ramps and stairs with glass guardrails provide strategic connections between program volumes while acting as a catwalk for costume clad visitors to see and be seen as if in an impromptu fashion show.
Around the perimeter of the 1st floor are strategically placed cafes, retail shops and a VIP reception/lounge while the basement houses the back of house amenities, workshops, a loading dock with parking for staff and VIP, and lockers and changing rooms for visitors.
Stone Carving Museum
Stone Carving Museum
Rising out of Dongbao Mountain on a promontory overlooking Li Shui City at the bend of the Ou river, the Qingtian Stone Carving Art Center is the anchor of the Dongbao Mountain Overseas Chinese Cultural and Museum Ecological City in Qingtian County, Zhejiang province.
Influenced by the long history of stone craft art that Qingtian became famous for, the museum showcasing exemplary examples of stone carving, rises out of the earth as if carved out of the unique topography of the site. In lieu of buildings built on an artificial platform, the museum straddles the heaven and earth housing extensive permanent galleries, two temporary galleries, education and multifunctional venues as well as artist residences and a high end restaurant and museum café seamlessly integrating with the natural surroundings and landscape with extensive views across Li Shu City.
With it’s beautiful modeling in harmony with the surrounding and refined craftmanship in construction, and state of the art display, the Qingtian Stone Carving Art Center will be the premiere center of the thousand year old art form known as “Embroidery on Stone,” recognized as one of China’s national intangible cultural heritage.
Siteman International Oncology Hospital
Siteman International Oncology Hospital
A new state-of-the-art private medical facility located between the metropolises of Suzhou, Wuxi and Shanghai, the Siteman International Oncology Hospital and Medical Center provides cutting-edge healthcare in a low-density environment integrated with the rich, natural landscapes of the historic Suzhou gardens.
At the foreground of the 128,000 m² complex, a 77,400 m² Oncology Hospital provides surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and proton beam therapy among other specializations, advanced equipment and technology. Patient wards include 143 single-person rooms, 110 double rooms, 22 intensive care units (ICUs) and related medical treatment facilities. In lieu of a traditional hospital typology, with stacked inpatient and outpatient towers adjacent to a central diagnostic and treatment center, the Huici Suzhou International Hospital and Medical Center distributes inpatient wards and outpatient clinics into low-density complexes within the garden landscape, providing ample natural daylight and views of nature.
To minimize inefficiencies and maximize vital adjacencies, the building complexes are designed at a specific scale to loop around the central diagnostic, treatment and imaging centers. To the north of the site, higher density structures house a 6800 m² Postpartum Care Center, a 13600 m² Rehabilitation Center and a 11400 m² Nursing Center.
Diageo Jade Complex
Diageo Jade Complex
Design: 2021-2023 Construction: 2022-Ongoing
The Diageo Jade complex is inspired by the tradition of whisky making, and its deep connection to place. Located in a fertile valley in Dali, and fed by pristine natural springs, the Jade whisky made here is born from a rich and beautiful environment. The architecture of the complex takes its cue from this relationship, drawing inspiration from the heritage of Dali and Scottish whisky making traditions, and taking advantage of the biodiverse landscape and spectacular views the site affords.
The architectural concept of the project highlights the experience of nature, by stimulating the senses. We have chosen materials and carved space in order to frame views, control light and amplify sound. The sky, water and air are integral components of the design, along with the earth, stone and planting. Taste, touch, sound and smell are all activated and stimulated through this crafted Jade experience. The Jade complex design is abstracted from the building traditions of Bai/Dali vernacular architecture, and historic Scottish whisky distilleries. These inspirations have a common material palette of rough stone, dark pitched roofs, and whitewashed walls. These materials are formed into a series of courtyard-like spaces, a typology typical in the region, to utilize sustainable practices of cross-ventilation and thermal mass. The long, linear site presents the opportunity to experience a dynamic, sloped landscape, approximately 12m from West to East.
The stone buildings of the Visitor’s Center are low and embedded in the ground along the north approach road, and then once inside dramatically open up to reveal expansive views of the Cangshan Mountains to the south. The building layout is terraced to take advantage of the naturally sloping site and create a dynamic visitor experience to be discovered.
A series of pools and water features are integrated with the Visitor’s Center to emphasize Jade’s deep connection to water. These pools are filled with purified water from the processing of the pristine single malt whisky. This water, along with collected rainwater, is also used to irrigate the lush landscape at the east end of the site, supporting the biodiversity of Yunnan where the original pristine spring water is cycled back into the ecosystem.
The tapered form of the barrel tower is an abstraction, of the famous Three Pagodas of the Chongsheng Temple in Dali. It is jewel-like shape (tapered at the top and bottom) minimizes shade of the peripheral platform below while giving the form a perspectival lift and a taller appearance than the actual height. The barrel tower is clad in tessellated pattern of white hexagonal metal panels, reminiscent of the faceted tiles found in the vernacular “Bai Architecture” of the region.
The National Museum of Korean Literature
The National Museum of Korean Literature
• The National Museum of Korean Literature – Competition Honorable Mention
Nestled in the hillside of Bukhan mountain, the National Museum of Korean Literature sits timelessly in the landscape overlooking the Eunpeyong New Town, anchoring the cultural cluster of important museums and art institutions that are emerging in the northwest of central Seoul.
Open and democratic, celebrating the cultural heritage of Korean literature, the NMKL is not only a state-of-the-art institution for archiving and preserving literature in written form, but a dynamic village for art and culture, promoting exchange, collaboration, and the passing of knowledge. In lieu of the collection storage being hidden and “out-of-view” to the public, two “cultural storehouse towers” were envisioned to contain the varied functional programming of the new NMKL. Clad in paper like ceramically fritted-glass sails, the entire complex arrangement evokes the soft curvature of the roofs and eaves of a traditional Korean village.
With advances in the production of sustainable forestry, the NMKL takes advantage of the increasingly accessible high-strength glulam/CLT technology. The leaning “book assembly” of each structural sail was conceptualized to act like a series of lightweight Vierendeel trusses, gently hovering on strategic points of the tiered landscape, creating an open and porous base. The curving structure creates a pinwheel of interlocked canted trays to provide area for programming within each floor, yet carefully blocking any direct sunlight. UV filtered fritted IG-units and integrated 50%/100% knockdown shading provides additional conservation protection blocking direct sunlight. Structurally engineered to withstand seismic and lateral loads, a tower floor-to-floor height of 7.8m with mezzanines, offer privacy and access to the multi-stage bookshelf system.
Taking advantage of the 9m sloping site, multiple public entrances, and circulation points around the entire complex provide logistics for culturally dynamic programming throughout the day and evening. The larger tower volume with the museum gallery and specialized library, consists of a series of tiered platforms and trays overlooking a large public atrium. The open “amphitheater,” provides a flexible venue for exhibitions and public performances such as “hyangga,” mask plays, puppet shows, “p’ansori,” and other forms of traditional/contemporary oral literature. The smaller tower volume with a special reading room and preservation studios at the lower entrance/mezzanine level, offers protected access to rare collections of “idu” early transcription systems, early Korean literature in Chinese, and important works in Hangul. To the south, 1,500m2 of landscaped grounds is strategically preserved for future expansion with direct access to the rare books collection and preservation Studios. Connecting the two “cultural storehouse towers” is a centrally located restaurant with an outdoor terrace/performance venue facing Gijachon Park, hovering above the multipurpose hall and Education Wing offering programming and venue for institutions, schools, clubs and the neighboring art village and residents.
The NMKL is not only a state-of-the-art facility with both physical and virtual support programming and capabilities, but a constantly evolving institution celebrating the sharing and passing of knowledge to future generations. The NMKL will not only become a cultural anchor for all of Korea but a dynamic global cultural beacon at the forefront of the 21st century and beyond.
JX Canal Museum
JX Canal Museum
The Grand Canal, the longest canal in the world starting from the old capital of Beijing to the Summer Capital of Hangzhou, runs 1,776km and links the Yellow and Yangtze River inspiring many who navigated and witnessed the enormous engineering feat throughout history.
The Grand Canal has advanced and prolonged the indigenous and economic growth of China’s urban centers from the Sui period to the present, the oldest parts of the canal dating back to the 5th Century BCE. Our museum takes inspiration of the traditional ships and arched bridges that ferried and spanned the Grand Canal and the local culture that flourished along the Jiangnan section, south of the Yangtze river, still used to ferry goods and materials along this busy route.
A series of large, enormous, sustainably forested glulam arched beams are placed floating on the site on an North/South axis, pinned together reminiscent of ship hulls busily passing each other, where the varying and staggered infill gallery slabs, and roof truss framing act as tension resisting ties for structural integrity. The museum’s main circulation and entrances run horizontally on this North/South axis where one can visit the museum from the canal and boat dock on the South and from the “Museum Canal” or public basement hall accessed through a large chamfered and sloping entrance ramp at the North Entrance. The large expansive “Museum Canal” contains temporary galleries, shops and children’s workshops and becomes the circulation spine to allow for navigation into the individual floating halls that house an auditorium and varying thematic galleries from strategically placed vertical circulation cores.
Once above ground, views of the passing ships on the canal can be seen from the floating galleries above the large reflecting pool on the plaza. A single pedestrian bridge spans over the pool and the heavily trafficked Binhe road adjacent our site, giving panoramic views of the canal and the famous Changhong bridge while spiraling down to connect to a series of tree lined pedestrian paths and bridges connecting the famous bridge to the new museum.
Wood Block Museum
Wood Block Museum
The Taowahu Wood Block Museum serves as the exhibition space for a vast, preexisting collection of ancient wood block prints. Originating in China in antiquity as a method of printing on textiles and later paper, the art is a slow and steady process of layering, resulting in a composition of depth.
The spaces of the museum fall in a similarly layered sequence, with the visitor following along through the various galleries and functions in separate volumetric entities. The circulation throughout the architecture, with direct interaction with the surrounding Suzhou Gardens, establishes a narrative of wood block printing techniques, from process to end product.
Design: 2017-2019 Construction: 2018-2019
Designed by the Office of Metropolitan Architecture, the new Beijing Headquarters for Tencent, multinational internet conglomerate, and the 13th most valuable company in the world (by Forbes), required unified design for the signage and wayfinding systems, as well as placemaking environmental graphics in key strategic public areas. In collaboration with Pentagram, the world’s largest independently-owned, multidisciplinary design firm, OLI was tasked to unify the sprawling multilevel headquarters with strategic signage and wayfinding interventions. The design team through careful analysis of the building layout and occupant flow, designed minimal digital placemaking interventions in key public nodes, providing distinct landmarks within the strong architectural character of the new complex, and a common visual and material language for the thousands of employees the new HQ would accommodate.
Additional changes to the interior architecture through discrete interventions have been strategically developed with an emphasis on maximum impact while considering and honoring the original design intent of the space and the schedule of construction minimizing abortive works.
Multinational investment internet holding conglomerate Tencent has quickly become one of the world’s most valuable companies. With this newfound stature, the founders sought out a curated, cultured identity and design in their buildings and campuses, one befitting of the top 5 most valuable brands in the world following Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.
With a cadre of engineers and designers averaging the age of twenty-seven as the driving force behind Tencent’s meteoric rise, the company and its founders actively prioritize the well-being and work environment of their young employees. On this basis, the design of new office interiors for the Cloud Computing Division brings together elements of collaborative open spaces while ensuring individuals a sense of personal space.
Simple, natural principles secede the design from the iconographic, multi-colored interiors of Tencent’s previous offices. Eliminating the traditional room and cubicle partitions in favor of long, linear tables arrayed on an open floor plan promotes a culture of interaction, while strategic cutouts in the tables for broadleaf plants and floor-to-ceiling storage units staggered throughout filter for varying levels of privacy and establish localized spatial groups.
Located in a city known for its gardens, the Suzhou Censer Museum celebrates the grandfather of the client, a renowned maker and merchant of incense burners, objects historically and highly coveted by collectors, and the subsequent generations of successful master craftsmen and merchants in the family.
The discrete volumes of the museum are scattered through a landscape of gardens indigenous to Suzhou, with the programs allotted along the circulation.
North Zone Silk Factory
Design: 2016 Construction: 2016
The town of Wuzhen is famous for its traditional architectural heritage. However, before the advent of tourism, it was a quaint country town with some light industry, most notably a silk factory bordering the canal. Chen Xianghong, the developer of Wuzhen, fought the urban planning laws that mandated the removal of the buildings, and secured the preservation of the factory as well as the underappreciated memory of its recent past.
Built before the modernization of China, the factory used construction techniques that saved on materials: elaborate concrete trusses carrying a traditional wooden roof frame.
Each hall was built successively with its own structural system. The economical process also dictated the use of natural lighting, with incremental differences in each building. The ancillary new buildings by DCA extend this vocabulary in a contemporary fashion.
The existing structures, adapted as galleries, were cleared of all additions, and preserved in their raw state. The existing doors, windows and skylights create cross views to the interior street, as well as a unique quality of light. Our goal was to use these existing features to create an open and interesting relationship with the outside. The spatial character of each hall emerges both from the relationship with the outside and from the craft of its construction.
The resulting layer of context creates a network of possible installation strategies, in opposition to the neutral white box of current Chinese exhibition centres. Thus, the original human qualities of the workspace were recovered and preserved with their transformation into a new home for the biennial Wuzhen Art Festival of contemporary art.
The lighting design was developed to enhance this placemaking strategy. The exterior lighting underlines building faces, and traces the connecting lines between the halls. The interior lighting is based on a system of suspended channels that weaves through the roof trusses, providing the necessary flexible display lighting that does not impose itself on the architectural qualities of the places.
Ai Wei Wei, Maya Lin, Studio Job, Florentin Hoffman and Richard Deacon were among the thirty various international artist that displayed in the inaugural Art Festival.
Miho Institute of Aesthetics Chapel
Miho Institute of Aesthetics Chapel
Design: 2008-2010 Construction: 2010-2012 Architect: I. M. Pei Project Architect: Hiroshi Okamoto Associate Architects: I. O. Architects Local Executing Architects: Masatoyo Ogasawara Architects
Situated in the mountains of Shigaraki, Japan, the Chapel of the Miho Institute of Aesthetics, I.M. Pei’s last significant work, serves as the physical and spiritual center of the 7-12th grade private institution with a holistic approach to natural agriculture and aesthetics.
The 240-seat chapel form results from folding a two-dimensional fan-shaped surface into a conical volume, defined geometrically by a lemniscate curve, or a torus sectioned tangent to its inner circle. The lofted surface between the top and bottom curves is fabricated with 51 custom-warped stainless steels panels on the exterior and over 8,454 individually curved Japanese red cedar wood planks on the interior cladding a structural concrete shell. The joints of the wood planks vary in size to control absorption of various sound wavelengths to create an optimal neutral space for congregation and contemplation.
The museum is a simple geometric volume composed of angled planes, with thin vertical ceramic frits of varying densities that provide both pattern and shading. A floating glass enclosure of horizontally fritted glass defines the second-floor volume, where both the exhibition space and service core are housed.
Upon entering the building, the visitor experiences the in-between spaces created by the primary and secondary envelopes of fritted glass, engaging panoramic views of different densities, reminiscent of the stories and compositions woven from the colorful threads of silk embroidery.
The open plan within the exhibition space allows for functional flexibility while retaining a strong circuit of continuously unfolding experiences. The program is defined by light, ephemeral partitions, deriving their colorful translucency from those of embroidered screens. The materiality and form of the translucent surfaces creates a “living 2D embroidery” from the observer’s perspective.
China Silk Embroidery Art Museum
China Silk Embroidery Art Museum
The China Silk Embroidery Art Museum is located on the west side of Suzhou, China, housing a UNESCO World Heritage Garden and Wang Ao Temple. With the exception of a few large-scale public buildings, the context is residential and richly historic with the history of Suzhou’s embroidery art. The design for the museum distinguishes architectural volumes by different programmatic functions, allocating exhibition space to the Southeast while locating reception functions to the West. Entering through a gate, visitors pass through a glass reception pavilion before circulating through the galleries of artifacts and masterpieces, following the sequential steps of embroidery production: from embroidery design to silk dying, weaving, and mounting for display.
The museum integrates the UNESCO Garden through an array of small-scale volumes within the landscape, expanding further into small courtyards. The space fluctuates through harmonic oppositions, from open to enclosed spaces both narrow and wide. While the embroidery galleries and studios require indirect lighting, the public spaces adjacent to the courtyard access its abundant daylight.
Haidao Silk Art Culture Park
Haidao Silk Art Culture Park
Located in Haina, China, about 15km from downtown Haikou, the project responds to the Qiongzhou Straight in which it is situated, the surrounding Wuyuan River Forest Park and the bisecting Central Park. From the onset, volumetric studies of the Haido Silk Art Cultural Park proved invaluable for creating a singular identity from the multiplicity of programmatic elements.
The office towers, hotels and boutique formally resulted from the stacking of individual slabs in relativity to each other and to site zoning, views, and solar orientation. The slabs were expressed on the facade as bands, reminiscent of threads of silk, disclosing the process in the design. In the gradual shortening and lengthening of the white aluminum bands, deep eaves are created, shading against sun exposure and promoting passive cooling. From the Silk Museum to the Special Silk Retail the thread is “woven” between the individual programs, pushing and pulling, shaping terraced landscapes and enveloping a central green courtyard within.
Haidao Silk Art Culture Museum
Haidao Silk Art Culture Museum
Haidao Silk Art Cultural Museum takes center stage as a cultural beacon in the Haidao Silk Cultural Art Park, situated in the new Central Business District of Hainan, China. The facade is composed of draped “silk,” aligning the main traffic artery and the Centeral Park of master plan. Expressed through the varying textures of colored concrete, polished stone and glass, the facade accentuates the “drape” and curvature along the viewer’s changing vantage and the movement of the sun.
The interwoven interior spaces establish a typology of a vertical “living museum,” where various cultural events and silk exhibitions take place alongside other endeavors of entertainment, education, shopping and leisure. The amalgamation of activities within the parameters of museography establish an architecture integral to China’s modern, international lifestyle.
Shanghai Stock Exchange
Shanghai Stock Exchange
Design: 2013 Construction: 2014 Area: 3,600 m2
The Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) Tower was built in 1997, with a 3,600 square meter column-less trading floor, containing 1,810 trading seats, it was once the biggest trading floor in Asia. In order to meet the new demands of the changing global marketplace, the transition to online trading and the limited need for physical trading space, OLI was tasked with the renovation of the SSE trading floor.
New functions were programmed to be overlaid on the existing framework, paramount to the client demands was the addition of a platform for IPO ceremonies. Additional program integrated to the renovated central trading hall were a large meeting space for publicly traded companies, a market investigation and oversight area and increased media seating with direct views of sight ringing the periphery. A transformed section of the original trading seats, a portion of which was requested to be saved, was integrated as stock trading and investor education areas. Above the Central Trading Hall, the areas to the north and south on the mezzanine, originally located behind the trading monitor, was transformed into conference rooms and state of the art live-broadcast platforms. The renovated VIP floor, one floor above, holds VIP meeting rooms and a museum dedicated to the history of the SSE.
The specialty market trading area in the northern section of the hall makes use of a similar design language, connecting the trading and oversight area with a glass volume formed in the traditional Chinese character for the number “eight.” The Chinese pronunciation of the number eight resembles the word “flourish,” implying a sense of prosperity for the market.
The glass cylinder market investigation and oversight area in the southern section of the central trading hall, with illuminated glass flooring and a news ticker displaying up to date market data, through its physical transparency, symbolizes market openness.
Museum of Islamic Art
Museum of Islamic Art
Design: 2001-2005 Construction: 2004-2008 Area: 36,000 m2 Architect: I. M. Pei Site Representative: Hiroshi Okamoto
The 36,000 m2 Museum of Islamic Art is located south of Doha’s Corniche on a newly created island 60 meters from the shore. Protected by a C-shaped peninsula, the limestone and granite building is physically isolated yet visible from all around the capital city, emerging timelessly from the Persian Gulf.
A search for the essence of Islamic architecture within its wide-ranging cultural and regional diversity revealed the paramount importance of the desert sun and the simple geometric forms it so powerfully brings to life. The exterior of the museum is thus sculpturally modulated by the sun’s play of radiant surfaces against deep shadows, visually faceting away the building’s large mass.
Inside, exhibition galleries grow incrementally higher and smaller around a central atrium in which a Grand Stair doubles back under a crown of light. The space climaxes in a progressive matrix from circle to octagon to square, before transforming finally into four triangular corners that incline back at different angles to become the atrium’s supporting columns.
Supplementing the galleries and gardens are a bookstore, dining, an auditorium, prayer hall, and separate but integral Education Center that is joined by a serene arcaded garden. The Museum is at once a vital center for art, learning, social gathering and enrichment in a country on the frontier of global economy and culture.
Embassy of China In Washington, D.C.
Embassy of China In Washington, D.C.
Design: 2001-2004 Construction: 2004-2008 Area: 40,000 m2 Architect: I. M. Pei Project Manager: Bing Lin
The new 40,000 square meter Chancery Building of the People’s Republic of China is located at the International Centre, the new chancery district in northwest Washington D.C. . The building is situated on a site area of 10,760 sq. meters adjacent the Embassy of Singapore, the Embassy of Israeli and the US State Department with Van Ness Avenue and International Drive to the North and West respectively, and Central Park to the south.
In order to achieve harmony with its classical neighbors in Washington, the exterior wall of the new Embassy building is clad with honey colored French limestone. The building’s geometrical shape organizes the building into discreet functions of reception, meeting, gathering and offices. The design of the building not only meets the basic office and administrative functions of the Embassy, but also symbolically reflects the uplifting and new openness of today’s China.
The new Chancery building is built on a hill with the entrance to the south. The East Wing houses mostly public functions while the West Wing contains mostly offices. The main garden is located on the north side. Specially selected trees provide landscaped views from the offices and reception rooms. The lush landscaping also blends the new Chancery with the rest of the tree covered International Centre. Art work created by internationally renowned artists Xu Bing and Liu Dan adorn the public areas. In November of 2008, Chinese President Hu Jing Tao visited the new Chancery building, and stated the building being of “both West and East, both luxurious and elegant”.
Design: 2002-2004 Construction: 2003-2006 Architect: I. M. Pei Site Architect: Bing Lin
The Suzhou Museum design finds inspirations from the classical buildings of Suzhou with white stucco walls and grey tiled roofs, and from the classical gardens of Suzhou for which the city became famous. While respecting the historical context of the past, the design illustrates a new interpretation of the classical architecture, meeting the challenging design requirements of being not only “Chinese and Suzhou, but also contemporary and forward-reaching.” Immediately upon completion, the building has been recognized as an important and successful precedence in the delicate balance of modern building design in the historical Chinese context.
The new Suzhou Museum employs a simple building palette with white walls and stone tiled roofs. The black granite roof tiles are uniform and solid, and in harmony with the traditional tile roofs of Suzhou. The galleries are interconnected with a series of courtyards. The main garden of the museum is separated from the adjacent Unesco designated Humble Administrator’s Garden by a shared wall. The design of the main garden is simple and elegant, with a flowing pond, gazebo and a sliced stonescape as the centerpiece. The sliced rocks from Shandong province carefully arranged against the white courtyard wall form a three-dimensional Chinese landscape painting.
Suzhou has a splendid cultural tradition with art crafts and paintings of Ming and Qing Dynasties. The exhibition spaces and design are carefully scaled to be appropriate for its displayed contents. The museum also has a contemporary gallery, a temporary gallery, multi-function room, VIP reception room, and a café. It is a modern museum with state-of-the-art facilities. Since its opening, the new Suzhou Museum has become a new landmark of Suzhou City, designated as a top-ranking Class A museum of China and has becoming a window and platform for cultural exchange and development with the rest of the world.