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Yuhang Courtyard Maze, Hangzhou, China

Wednesday 31 Aug 2011

Striking a balance

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Award Entry

Paul Lukez Architecture's masterplan aims to foster new thinking through connection with nature 

The XiXi Sci-Tech District is one of over 6,000 Research and Development zones currently under design or construction throughout China with the goal of creating environments that foster scientific creativity and innovation. This district is located on the western edge of the rapidly expanding Hangzhou metropolis and will be linked to the city's core by a new network of subways and highways. The previously rich agricultural lands and waterways are quickly being overrun by this rapid urbanisation.

This project’s main challenge is to configure a new multi-use district (research facilities, labs, offices, residences and housing) that enhances innovation and creativity among its inhabitants while integrating the site’s ecology and landscape. The design strategy is to create an environment which fosters creativity and innovation. The design draws inspiration from the famous gardens at Suzhou where architectural features like courtyards, paths and wall openings frame views of the landscape to articulate the delicate balance that exists between building & garden, man & nature, order & chaos.

The courtyard type varies slightly with each building configuration. Access to each courtyard is subtly skewed to alter the view of the landscape and buildings. Each building is surrounded by the water of the re-defined canals so that the land and the waterways interlock like fingers. This distribution of uses and circulation creates unexpected encounters between fellow researchers and residents, with each other and nature, altering the way people regularly view each other and their environment to spark new ideas and thinking.

The structure of the 'maze' building is largely elevated above the landscape allowing easy vehicular and pedestrian access. The string of buildings is connected by bridges that provide multiple experiential paths through the maze and immerse researchers in spaces that are both built-natural and finite-infinite to generate new ideas.

Key Facts

Status Concept design
Value 0(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
Paul Lukez Architecture

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