Aedas designs new education facility inspired by Chinese culture and using local limestone
In 1994, the Suzhou Industrial Park was approved by the government, representing an important project between China and Singapore. With 3 counties and 300,000 people, the SIP keeps a fast pace maintaining an average economy growth of 30% every year. The Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, located inside the Suzhou Industrial Park, is a result of the convergence of the city’s widening open-door policy and globalising education. It offers degree programs in the key subject areas of science, engineering and management.
The University’s vision is to create a world-class university committed to training highly professional experts. The University is situated in a beautiful environment, where there is a harmonious coexistence with the city’s rich cultural traditions and its rapid economic development with convenient traffic as well. The important Administration and Information Center is directly adjacent to the 2 main promenade axes on campus. The Laboratories are located on the east side and Classroom Building on the north. It will be a dynamic gathering space in the future. The Administration and Information Center has a complicated program consisting of an administration, training, learning, student activities and Resources Center.
All of the programs are connected by complex voids inside the building, representing the concept of the Taihu stone. For centuries, the Taihu Lake has been the source for the beautiful and distinctive ornamental stone used to decorate traditional Chinese gardens. Eroded over time by wind and water, this limestone is found on dozens of islands and along the miles of shoreline surrounding the Taihu Lake, located on the west side of Suzhou. The stone is found in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes, creating a poetic sense of beauty. It was highly regarded by Chinese scholars during ancient times and is now an essential element in Chinese culture. Voids at various heights merge to become a 3-dimensional Suzhou garden. The exposed stone and voids develop a more proactive attitude to interact with the surrounding context and people. It is no longer an isolated decorative object but a vessel which attracts people to enter.