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O Studio Architects, Hong Kong

Monday 20 Feb 2012

Sowing the seeds

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Award Entry

O Studio Architects emphasises sustainable design with a primitive and fundamental approach 

Founded in 2009, O Studio Architects is an architectural practice devoted to the contemplation, research and design of the contemporary built environment. The practice emphasises on experimental form and space making, but resists the thoughtless production of architectural forms by the convenient computational tools today. The practice designs with environmental sensibility, but resists the over-produced green roofs and sky gardens born under the slogan of green design. O Studio Architects intends to pursuit form making and sustainable design with a primitive and fundamental approach.

Church of Seed demonstrates the combination of poetic space-making and environmental sensibility. It is located at Luofu Mountain - one of the seven Taoist mountains in China. Being the only church surrounded by Taoist and Buddhist temples, the building provides not only worship and meditation space for Christians, but also gathering places for the surrounding village people. Inspired by the form of a seed, a metaphorical element in Gospel stories, the church space is enclosed by three curvilinear walls. The cross opening on the south-east wall introduces morning sun into the interior. The stepping roof terrace allows diffuse daylight into the interior and provides a dramatic headroom increment from the main entrance towards the worshiping space. Visitors can walk up to the stepping roof terrace and enjoy the distant mountain view. The design encourages natural ventilation in the tropical context and no air-conditioning system was installed.

The structure of the church is in-situ concrete with bamboo formworks which is economically sound and practical for local builders. The bamboo for the formworks is a fast growing plant and was collected near the site. The formwork texture left on the concrete surface reduces the massiveness of wall and harmonises with the surrounding landscape. Plus the handmade bamboo furniture by local farmers, the presence of the church intimately engages with village life.

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