Shou County Culture and Art Center

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - Aerial view - Photo credit: Schran Images

Huainan Shi, China, 2020-03-30 –

Shou County is located in the center of Anhui Province, on the south bank of Huai River. In ancient times, it was the home of the Chu culture and where Liu An, King of Huainan, edited a compendium of ancient Chinese philosophy and composed poetry. The old town of Shou County is roughly square in shape and surrounded by rammed earth walls, with the outward-facing sides of the walls covered in brick above an elevated stone foundation. The entire wall is inclined slightly inwards to allow the stone layers at the bottom to sit firmly in place. The city moat lies to the southeast of the city; Fei River to the north; Shouxi Lake to the west; and Bagong Mountains can be seen in the distance. A walk across the ancient bridges, a stroll through the old town, or an exploration of the ancient relics can offer boundless inspiration. The city walls wrap tightly around the chaotic, scattered, and diverse buildings of the city, creating a sudden change in the experience of the environment once the threshold is passed.

The buildings within the city are constructed in the courtyard house typology, which differs from those in northern China and the Huizhou houses in southern Anhui. The typology of the buildings in the old town of Shou County strongly reflects the characteristics of the region’s climate, as well as the local culture and way of life. Along the narrow streets, the vertical courtyard houses have small windows and solid walls—a typical weatherproofing feature to protect occupants from the cold in winter and heat in summer.

Shou County Culture and Art Center was built in a new city one or two kilometers southeast of the old town, on what used to be empty, flat farmland with a lack of landscape features. Many new tall, generic buildings surround the area and fail to reflect the local climate and local culture. The blandness of the project site resembled a blank piece of paper for Zhu Pei offering the potential for a multitude of creative opportunities. The county government was open-minded in that it didn’t insist on specific design requirements, however, it demanded the project “be built quickly and completed next year.”

The building needed to include an art gallery, cultural center, library, and archive. Cultural and art centers are not new in China. Many were built between the 1950s and 1970s under the influence of the former Soviet Union. Nowadays, they have been endowed with a range of new possibilities, including creating urban public space for cultural activities. Shou County Culture and Art Center is designed to draw people in to discover and experience it; unlike a beautiful sculpture that can only be viewed but not experienced.

Zhu Pei investigated the cultural roots of Shou County, observing old dwellings and ruins, and identifying how ancestors sought a balance between the primal force of nature and active construction without modern technologies. The buildings in the old town provided plenty of inspiration. The inward-oriented living patterns of the vertical courtyard houses, and the narrow lanes extending out in all directions connecting houses to one another, reflect the local way of life and hint at the rules of construction for local climate conditions. Zhu Pei reimagined this living and spatial experience to help to embed Shou County Culture and Art Center in the local community.

Multiple courtyards of different sizes are placed in a relatively enclosed rectangular block. They are connected by a winding, undulating public walkway, which is a public loop protected from the sun and rain. The public loop guides people over the bridge, crossing the moat into the building. The extensive front yard at the main entrance forms a public square that represents the tang wu (central room) of typical Shou County residences, while the backyard resembles the back garden of local folk houses. Each program of the building has two or three inner courtyards. From the front yard, visitors can wander all the inner courtyards without interrupting the continuity of the rooms. Walking along the protected public loop, visitors can find themselves at times on the first floor, second floor or third floor. The space is unpredictable, and light and shadow continually shift to surprise visitors, allowing them to feel the artistic spirit of traditional Chinese architecture expressed by the principles of “hide, breath, cultivate and wander.”

The introverted concept of Shou County Culture and Art Center is a sensible choice for the unpredictable future development of the surrounding area. It also reflects the grace, inclusiveness, and vitality of the ancient city of Shou County, which has withstood the test of time.

Datasheet

Location: Shou County, Anhui, China

Client: Shouxian Government

Completion Date: 2019

Total Area: 30,010 m2

Architect: Studio Zhu-Pei

Design Principal: Zhu Pei

Design Team: You Changchen, Shuhei Nakamura, Du Yang, Liu Ling, Wu Zhigang, Yang Shengchen, Ding Xinyue, Ke Jun, Wu Zhenhe, Duyao

Main Contractor: ShengWo Construction Group Co., LTD.

Consultants

Structural and MEP: BIAD JAMA CO., LTD.

Landscape and Interior: Studio Zhu-Pei, The Design Institute of Landscape &Architecture China Academy of Art

Suppliers

Concrete: Anhui Huacheng Concrete Co.

Aluminum Curtain: Shandong Jinxiang Aluminum Co.

Glass: Wuxi Yaopi Glass Engineering Co.

Photography by Schran Images, courtesy of Studio Zhu-Pei

About Studio Zhu-Pei

Founded in 2005 in Beijing, Studio Zhu-Pei is one of the leading Chinese architecture firms focusing on cultural projects. Studio Zhu-Pei is recognized for its experience of ability to blend forms, space, and light with great contextual sensitivity and to utilize the unique qualities of each project to create a concept-driven design. The studio specializes in seamlessly integrating new projects into contexts with particular natural, cultural and historic importance.

Studio Zhu-Pei’s design philosophy is focused on Nature Architecture, which explores the importance and relations between the root that grounds the work deeply into a specific nature and culture, and innovation that define the revolutionary thinking to the architecture.

Zhu Pei, Hon. FAIA is the founder and principal designer of the studio. He is the Dean, professor of School of Architecture, the Central Academy of Fine Arts. He has taught as a visiting professor at Harvard University and an adjunct professor at Columbia University. He was a jury member of the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2011.

For more information


  1. www.studiozhupei.com/

Media contact

  • Studio Zhu-Pei
  • Yaoyao Xia, Director of Media&Communications
  • [email protected]
  • +86-10-86227468

Source: V2 Newswire

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - Aerial view - Photo credit: Schran Images

Aerial view
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - The main entrance - Photo credit: Schran Images

The main entrance
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - The main entrance and the bridge - Photo credit: Schran Images

The main entrance and the bridge
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - The front courtyard - Photo credit: Schran Images

The front courtyard
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - View the front courtyard from the entrance of corridor - Photo credit: Schran Images

View the front courtyard from the entrance of corridor
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - Aerial courtyard - Photo credit: Schran Images

Aerial courtyard
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - Aerial courtyard and the corridor - Photo credit: Schran Images

Aerial courtyard and the corridor
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - View the front courtyard from the corridor terrace - Photo credit: Schran Images

View the front courtyard from the corridor terrace
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - Corridor on the second floor and the front courtyard - Photo credit: Schran Images

Corridor on the second floor and the front courtyard
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - View the front courtyard from the corridor - Photo credit: Schran Images

View the front courtyard from the corridor
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - Corridor on the second floor - Photo credit: Schran Images

Corridor on the second floor
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - The back garden - Photo credit: Schran Images

The back garden
Photo credit:
Schran Images


Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - The back garden - Photo credit: Schran Images

The back garden
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - View the back garden from the corridor - Photo credit: Schran Images

View the back garden from the corridor
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - Corridor - Photo credit: Schran Images

Corridor
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - Detail of the Moon Window - Photo credit: Studio Zhu-Pei

Detail of the Moon Window
Photo credit:
Studio Zhu-Pei

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - View the corridor from the courtyard on the second floor - Photo credit: Schran Images

View the corridor from the courtyard on the second floor
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - Corridor on the third floor - Photo credit: Schran Images

Corridor on the third floor
Photo credit:
Schran Images

Press kit | 1002-02 - Press release | Shou County Culture and Art Center - Studio Zhu-Pei - Art - The texture of concrete - Photo credit: Schran Images

The texture of concrete
Photo credit:
Schran Images

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