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Anji Play

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.

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Passage Of Time – Art Park

Passage Of Time – Art Park

Design: 2021-Ongoing

As Serra’s Passage of Time Pavilion serves as the anchor, the overall planning concept of the 15.5 acre art park was to provide a heightened and pure experience of Serra’s sculpture, while keeping construction disturbances of the site to a minimum. The recreationally zoned site, which had been forested with slash pines for paper making, had the trees on the northeast half of the site harvested providing an open expanse. Besides the Passage of Time Pavilion, all amenities such as the reception, rest pavilion, visitor parking, and the large 20,000ft2 event space, which provide ample programming opportunities, were strategically placed on this cleared half of the site, away from the sculpture pavilion. Strategically contoured berms, whose fill will to be taken from the retention pond protecting the surrounding wetlands, provide visual shielding of the pavilion forcing the visitor on a journey to discover the Passage of Time.

To house Serra’s sculpture, unlike the typical pristine white box gallery container, which could be anywhere, or nowhere; we purposefully chose to visually expose the piece to be discovered as one approaches through the existing tree canopy. Thus, celebrating the history of the place, the native wetland, the paper making tradition it cultivated, and the piece’s permanent home. This dialog with the site, as in all of Richard Serra’s site-specific pieces, makes for the most powerful and impactful experience.

The design of the pavilion is deceptively simple yet highly engineered, carefully planned and detailed to heighten the art experience starting from the siting. Like the winding streams and decks that navigate the natural topography in the nearby wetlands, the pavilion is approached from a winding wooden deck, echoing the rhythmic form of the sculpture, weaving between the tree columns, hovering off the ground true to the minimal impact ethos of the development. As one nears the pavilion, the turns become more frequent affording varying glimpses of the sculpture through the columns of the pine forest trunks and the all-glass pavilion façade.

The 270’ long x 55’ wide rectangular pavilion enclosure is entered from glass vestibules located at the concave pockets of the sculpture, one-third the length of the piece from opposing ends. The two entrances thus receive the visitors necessitating ambulation around and through, forcing an intimate experience with the sculpture.

Environmental considerations of the site were also a large factor in the design of the pavilion. From the East-West orientation of the building (the optimal orientation for the locale), to the large asymmetric pitched roof, providing vital shading while shedding the frequent rains, traditional passive strategies found in the vernacular architecture of Florida afforded large expanses of high-performance glazing. To create the desired “glass not there” effect of the envelope, the roof eaves prevent direct sunlight from falling on the 20’ tall low-e insulated glazing units which have three layers of non-reflective coating on low-iron clear glass. Meanwhile, the museum grade light diffusing insulated glass skylight, provides ample diffuse light onto the sculpture, animating the piece as if in a glade within the tree forest, making the Passage of Time a singular phenomenological experience that changes with the time of the day, the seasons, and each visit.

Due to the demands of the Florida Energy Conservation Code, strategic iterations of daylighting and energy simulation modeling were performed with key consultants to create optimal viewing conditions while ensuring code passing performance design. As we chose the energy model performance path permit submission, the existing tree canopy was modeled, aiding in the shading coefficient. For the structure, the large hovering 320’ long by 90’ wide trussed roof is supported by thick walled, high strength steel columns, with varying diameters, placed in a non-repetitive arrangement outside of the glass pavilion enclosure. The placement and column specification has been engineered to minimize the column numbers and sizes, and to blend with the field of tree trunks surrounding the pavilion while resisting the hurricane lateral wind loads.As our research on the surrounding context and demographic trends show, it is increasingly evident that the Passage of Time Art Park strives to be a larger experience. Strategic programming of the site, with events and festivals and additional art amenities, would not only synergize with Serra’s sculpture, but also elevate the experience and value of the Art Park. With the addition of art amenities strategically planned nearby and throughout the “Emerald Coast,” an “art archipelago” will form providing the critical mass to become a world class art destination.

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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.

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Luoyang Museum

Luoyang Museum

Design: 2022-2023

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.

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Earth Park

Earth Park

Design: 2022

Located in the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in southwestern Sichuan province. The Hua Hai Gao Earth Park Natural Art Gallery appears nestled in a tributary valley of the Anning River surrounded by the natural bounty of the Hengduan mountain region. Taking into careful consideration the sectional topography of the site to the building height and form, the building appears timelessly within the river valley, as if formed by the pre-Anthropocene geological evolution of the glacial river. Inspired by the eroded natural stone shapes of river boulders, the Natural Art Gallery is formed by three discrete concrete shell volumes floating above a recontoured river bed housing exhibition areas, combining art and nature showcasing the natural beauty of the river and the future Hai­huagou Earth Park Development surroundings.

One approaches the Natural Art Gallery from the south via a pedestrian foot bridge to the roof of the reception/exhibition hall, physically and mentally separating the visitor from the bustle of the access road connecting the planned visitor and VIP parking at the mouth of the river delta. While crossing the bridge on a journey to the Natural Art Gallery, one enjoys a view upstream of the river where water is diverted via a hidden ballast valve allowing the stream to gently flow from each successive concrete roof vessel to the other in a series of controlled falls which are then diverted down as curtains of water around programmed areas to be experienced.

Within the Natural Art Gallery, large sliding arced operable glass enclosures allow for views in a 180 degree panorama up and down the river valley while blurring the boundary between interior and exterior with the sound, smell and taste of the moving water and pure mountain air. Pools of varying sectional river depths allow for seasonal changes to the river boundary and activates ever changing experiences throughout the year bringing the visitor closer to the wonders of nature on each successive visit.

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Guanghui Museum

Guanghui Museum

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.

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Xiuwu Expo

Xiuwu Expo

Design: 2021

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.

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Stone Carving Museum

Stone Carving Museum

Design: 2021-Ongoing

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.

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Siteman International Oncology Hospital

Siteman International Oncology Hospital

Design: 2019-2021

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.

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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.

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Wood Block Museum

Wood Block Museum

Design: 2018-2019

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.

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Museum of Islamic Art Park

Museum of Islamic Art Park

Design: 2009-2010
Construction: 2010-2012
Design Consultant/Project Designer: Hiroshi Okamoto
Lead Consultant: Pei Partnership Architects

The Museum of Islamic Art Park is a redevelopment project of the 24-hectare man-made, landfill surrounding I. M. Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art (2008 – Hiroshi Okamoto, Designer, Site representative, Construction Administration) in Doha, Qatar.

Anchored by a specially commissioned, site specific 79ft sculpture by Richard Serra, the park’s 5-hectare peninsula is programmed with restaurants, kiosks and leisure amenities terminating the redevelopment of the Doha corniche, and the prominent urban sea lined green belt into a cultural public park, accessible and open 24 hours to all visitors and families in the capital city of Doha.

The black granite pier designed for the Serra sculpture, a monolithic chamfered parallelogram, terminates a palm lined allee cove, creating a majestic backdrop to the Museum of Islamic Art providing panoramic views of the entire Doha Bay and rapidly transforming skyline. The pier cantilevers 249ft on its side, over the water, creating an innate tension between the verticality of the sculpture and the horizontality of the pier. Inaugurated in December 2011, the sculpture commemoration celebrated Doha as the 2011 Cultural Capital of the Middle East.

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China Silk Embroidery Art Museum

China Silk Embroidery Art Museum

Design: 2010-2014

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.

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Suzhou Museum

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.

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