Silkworm cocoons enshroud public facilities in LA firm's Yichang New District Master Plan
LA-based design studio amphibianArc have won a design competition for a new district in the Chinese city of Yichang with a 1,430,000 sq m concept that draws on the natural elements of the given site, namely the nearby mountains and water from the Yangtze River. The team have also referenced the Chinese empress Leizu who invented the silk loom in a cluster of delicate volumes reminiscent of silkworm cocoons.
The undulating ‘mountain range’ of the site is home to the public buildings with the highest point being the Public Service Center. In total the Center comprises 8 buildings - 4 high rise and 4 low rise - with a series of courtyards for the executive offices.
Administrative elements are restricted to the high rise forms while the high-end office units are arranged around scenic courtyards for prime outward viewing. amphibianArc explains: “By opening up the offices, the design seeks to break up the negative stereotype of an aloof government and to help create a down-to-earth image.”
In the centre of the four high rise administration towers users will find a sculptural Conference Hall accessed via a grand sweeping staircase and bordered by a pair of parallel water features.
The water features throughout the development are maintained with recycled rainwater which is also used in irrigation of the verdant landscaped foliage. The 8m elevation change across the complex adds an additional eco-friendly element by generating hydropower for a number of kinetic sculptures dotted throughout the park.
Spreading southwards from the Public Service Center and Conference Hall are the Museum, Planning Exhibition Center and ancillary community facilities. These are housed in globular volumes inspired by silkworm cocoons arranged in reinforced concrete shells within ‘silk’ wrappers. The building envelopes have been parametrically generated and will be constructed using recycled aluminium pipes for the necessary fibre-like aesthetic.