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    New Water/Botanical Garden for the State of Arkansas - University of Arkansas Community Design Center

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    Geo Museum & Science Center - MZA Architecture

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    Geo Museum & Science Center - MZA Architecture

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    Golden Cage - John Marx / Form4 Architecture

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    Golden Cage - John Marx / Form4 Architecture

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    Shenzhen Longhua Archive Library by Cultural Architecture

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Civic future projects showcase the spectacular

Alison Carter
23 Jul 2019

Designs for a botanical garden, a Burning Man base, a geology inspired science centre and a culturally future proofed library reflect architects’ talent for imagination and practically on a global basis.

Shenzhen Longhua Archive Library - Cultural Architecture is located in the north of the Shenzhen Longhua Guanlan Cultural and Art Center. The two narrow sites are connected with a bridge over a public road running in the middle and are of different heights to avoid any overlooking issues. The greatest challenge faced in designing the library was finding the balance between security and public elements of the building whilst working with the urban context to provide those flexible spaces for diverse cultural future needs.

A study looking at a new water and botanical garden for the State of Arkansas revives the forgotten vision for a national water/botanical garden by renowned mid-century architect Edward Durell Stone, a native Arkansan. Stone designed a monumental cliffside park to accompany the Greers Ferry Dam in 1962. The dam was part of a reservoir-building program to generate hydroelectric power in tandem with economic development and new town development for this rural area. Influenced by the hydraulics in Roman and Persian water gardens, Stone’s masterful vision deployed late modernist tropes combining monumentality and glamour across the 269-acre (109 ha) site. 

A new national park is known as ‘the Cradle of Chinese Geology’ in the Nanjing Fangshan Mountains was until recently a site used for processing concrete.  Due to significant amounts of quarrying, much of the geology has been changed and the new Geo Museum and Science Center provides a clear glimpse into the history of this natural Chinese treasure.

To acknowledge the industrial heritage of this site, the existing processing buildings, the material conveyor belt, and the towering silos have been preserved and converted into exhibition spaces, a passenger conveying system, and sightseeing facilities respectively. A new, similarly scaled, building blends in seamlessly with the existing industrial context; its green roof melds into the hillside reducing the visual impact on this naturally beautiful site.

The lyrical symbolism of metamorphoses is the theme for the Golden Cage, a Burning Man base pavilion design. It suggests an experience symbolizing the nature of transformation, following a path of mystery and ambiguity. Five concepts are interwoven to create the central structure, loosely based on Ovid’s tales from 8 AD.

The first takes the form of two heroic wings, the second is expressed by a large blue sphere, symbolizing the earth and all the potential our time on this planet represents. The third, the figure of two large arms which seem to offer up the globe to the heavens, is an adaptation of Ovid’s dark tale of Apollo pursuing Daphne. The fourth is the Golden Cage surrounding the Man, representing the internal and external forces and the last concept involves the power of the human heart. 

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