OPEN Architecture

OPEN Architecture

Beijing, CN



HEX-SYS is a reconfigurable and reusable building system OPEN Architecture designed. As our reaction to the unique Chinese phenomenon in the recent decades' building frenzy – the production of vast amount of flamboyant but short-lived buildings, this modular building system can easily adapt to many different functions, and can be disassembled and reused, thus extending a building's life cycle and preventing huge waste of resources. Also by being modular and largely prefabricated, it can be built much faster than traditional buildings. This building system is part of OPEN's continuous efforts in exploring the ultimate potential of building sustainability.

Inspired by both the ancient Chinese wooden building system which can be taken apart and rebuilt elsewhere with little damage, and Le Corbusier's Swiss Pavilion which summarized his lifelong research on modular building systems, we designed this prototype comprised of hexagonal cells with architectural, structural and mechanical systems all synthesized within the same geometrical rules. The composition of cells can be rearranged according to different site and programmatic needs.

The basic building cell is a 40sqm hexagon module, with an inverted umbrella structure standing on a single pipe column which double functions as the rain flue. Rainwater is collected and used for landscape irrigation. There are 3 basic types of cells, indoor-open, indoor-closed and outdoor-open, to accommodate different functional needs. A 'missing' hexagon in a cluster of cells forms an internal Zen garden, like the void in Chinese paintings. The exterior façade is made of unitized curtain wall system. In order to maximize the recyclability and reusability of the building components, all connection details are designed to be reversible, no welding or glue allowed.

The structure sits on top of independent piles, floating above the existing parkland, while the small amount of excavated soil is used in landscaping to form small mounds, which frames an open space for public events. Sandblasted and anodized aluminum panels are used for exterior cladding for their durability and low maintenance. Bamboo, the rapidly renewable material, is used throughout the interior spaces wherever wood is needed.

The first realized prototype of HEX-SYS is in Guangzhou China, next to the city's new train station. It functions as an exhibition pavilion containing open display areas, offices, multimedia room, lounge and café. This pavilion demonstrates one possible application of HEX-SYS, but the system can be adapted to office, shop, restaurant or any other suitable functions as well.

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Status: Built
Location: Guangzhou, CN
Firm Role: Architectural & Interior Design
Additional Credits: Principals in Charge: Li Hu, Huang Wenjing
Project Team: Zhao Yao, Andrea Antonucci, Laurence Chan, Hu Boji, Thomas Batzenschlager, Zhang Chang
Local Design Institute: CABR Technology Co., Ltd
Landscape Design: Guangzhou Shangwo Landscape Design Co., Ltd
General Contractor: Zhongtian Steel Structure Co., Ltd
Landscape Contractor: Shenzhen Wenke Landscape Co., Ltd
Photography: Zhang Chao