Serving as the exhibition center in the Baotou CBD project, this is the first building to be built in the new mega city. The site is inside a 100-meter wide green zone planned along a major city boulevard. The client’s program had called for a temporary building as the sale office for the CBD project. As a critique to the normal ‘green zone’ which helps to decorate maps but serves little use to city residents, and as a rethinking of the after uses for sales buildings, OPEN proposed to develop this building into a multifunctional exhibition venue which can adapt to different use over time. The form of the architecture is to be integrated with the landscape and the surrounding trees, while the building literally ‘grows’ up from the ground. The exhibition center will bring people into nature, and culture into landscape.
The idea for the form of the building came from the central plaza of the new CBD – an urban public space held up by a “floating blanket” which gently slopes down in the middle and rises up on the periphery. Commercial spaces were tucked under the floating public plaza. To cut a slice from this floating plaza and place it in the green belt would be the form of the exhibition center. In a way, the exhibition center was a “full scale mock up” of the most ambitious public space in the new CBD.
At the street corner abutting a major city intersection, the building rises up gently from the ground. The roof is carefully landscaped with sedum and tall grass that grow in the local climate. A winding path paved by bamboo boards leads people up from the ground to a small public park surrounded by greenery on the roof top, a rare oasis in the hectic city. 5 courtyards of different sizes puncture the roof, bringing greenery from the outside into the interior space.
Under the wavy roof, is one large free floating open space, with different functions organized around the 5 courtyards, including a sports bar, a performing space, exhibition spaces, small shops and some offices. The function of the entire open space can be programmed differently according to needs at different times. Also time share is made possible with the same space. For example, the tree branch shaped sports bar can host digital exhibition during the day while working as an interesting bar at night. The performing space was born out of a bit of drama. While the curve room comes down and almost crashes into the ground, the ground suddenly folds down with it, framing an interesting space with L shaped seating area and the sloping ceiling.
The exhibition center is also designed as a building with very low carbon footprint. After carefully evaluating an array of strategies against local conditions and budgetary constraints, a set of energy effective strategies, many passive ones, were proposed and adopted for the building, including ground heat source pump, natural ventilation and lighting, radiant heating, green roof and etc. The building is expected to be low maintenance and highly energy efficient.
Location: Baotou, CN