LAB Architecture Studio's pair of Pavilions unfold for 8th Chinese Flower Expo in Wujin
Throughout October, the edges of West Tai-hu Lake in Wujin erupted into blooms of colour as botanists, horticulturalists and members of the public flocked to the site to enjoy the 8th Chinese Flower Expo. Two curvilinear structures by LAB Architecture Studio in collaboration with Chris Yiu-hang Chan & Stephanie Mee-lee Tan were heralded as the centerpieces of the EXPO; the Art Exhibition Pavilion and the Science Exhibition Pavilion.
Described by the architects as an experiment of ‘the tension between the natural landscape and the iconic culture body [sic]’, the two pavilions ‘explores the aesthetics of the relationship between the water and the petal’. The resulting volumes are undulating swathes of transparent film, glistening on the edges of the lake.
This ETFE weatherproof membrane swoops over tri grid steel members with more than 8,000 control points to create two visually arresting pavilions that offer both sheltered, open-air space and quiet interior volumes. Both pavilions offer two storeys of exhibition space and engage with passive ventilation techniques to reduce energy demands.
With swirling ceilings and light-drenched interiors, the Art and Science Pavilions have been designed to speak to one another, with similar formal expressions but alternate uses. The Art Pavilion, for example, is arranged for quiet contemplation of the work on show, with enclosed and intimate spaces. In contrast, the Science Pavilion directly engages with visitors through film projections and animations, therefore providing a more active, outbound arrangement.
The design team furthers: “Both pavilions could trace out a single round pattern as very primitive iconography. And this notion indeed absorb Chinese spacial concept - Architecture is not only inside; nor outside; and never a mono-object. The entire petal-like composition of the project responds visually and tectonically to its environment to create a distinct and powerful sense of place as well as a breathtaking backdrop for the 8th Chinese Flower Expo.”