architecture AND terrain:
BAU445 Suzhou Hi-tech District Cultural Center

Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, China

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Discipline

Architecture, Landscape Architecture

Typology

Public, culture, sports, education, urban landscape

City

Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, China

Date

2010

Status

Invited competition, 1st place.

Client

Suzhou Hi-Tech District Education Culture and Physical Training Bureau, Suzhou Hi-Tech District Planning Bureau

Program

Sports complex with aquatic centre, performing arts centre, visual arts centre, food and beverage, adult education center, library.

architecture AND terrain

introduction
The project is in the Suzhou New District SND, not only one of China’s most dynamic cities, but also one revered for its traditional walled garden heritage.

The site is generally flat and sits adjacent to an isolated green mountain, preserved for its beauty and landscape significance.

The culture centre brief consisted of a library, sports complex, elderly people’s facility, performing arts complex, and visual arts museum.

architecture AND terrain
Instead of developing a single building, or a cluster of smaller buildings, which would have blocked views and access to and from the mountain, BAU have disintegrated the programs and focused on the development of a new terrain, a terrain that actually enhances views and access to the mountain.

This existing surface of the site is lifted at its corners, and the larger primary building programs are placed under these raised corners. The emerging dish like form is then further folded and faceted to extend the terrain metaphor. The resultant vague terrain is a disruption to the sense of what a property development looks like, dissolving traditional understandings of land ownership and control by a single entity or owner – blurring the line between public and private space.

under AND over
Under the terrain, the public buildings inhabit cave like volumes. Courtyards provide light and surprise, while upper level terraces open onto the terrain and allow users a refreshing break between sessions. The sports complex has an outdoor pool and outdoor sports courts on its upper terraces.

Over the terrain, smaller programs are located in pavilions that are spread across the terraced and undulating surface. They invite the general public to visit the site, and tea-houses and bars encourage them to stay longer. This new terrain is manipulated to create an outdoor theater space suitable for large stage events.

visible AND invisible
The bigger programs present frontages at the street corners with activities visible and accessible to the public. In these locations the terrain disappears. Away from the corners, the terrain itself is visible and accessible along the street, while the larger programs disappear.

spaces AND places-to-be
This project easily accommodates the programs and spaces asked for in the brief, but it also suggests many other programs, and provides many other spaces not initially considered. It also provides pedestrian shortcuts across the site, while enhancing the beauty of, and access to the natural amenity of the mountain. This project provides citizens with a series of highly accessible, welcoming and relaxed new places-to-be in the city.

2000-2005

Melbourne

Urban Design

Kyneton

Mixed Use

Office

Residential

2015

Culture

Healthcare

Nanjing

Playgrounds

Public

Public Landscapes

Sports

Urban Landscapes

2005-2010

Hotel

Suzhou

Shanghai

Education

2014

Hangzhou

Jiangyin

Structures & Pavillions

Wuxi

Planning

2013

Retail

2012

Fuding

Shaoxing

Chongqing

Hospitality

Kunshan

Office

Wuhan

Hotel

Healthcare

Cixi

Ningbo

Meishan

Canberra

2011

Jingzhou

Private Landscapes

Chengdu

Hospitality

Culture

1990-2000

Xiamen

Residential

Hopetoun

Caofeidian

Huai’an

Xi'an

Xinyu

Mixed Use

Retail

Sports

BAU009 house in the sky

surreal adjacencies:
BAU019 Marymount Residence, Guest Accommodation, Stable + Office

mini-city of culture:
BAU590 Nanjing Pukou Haiqiao Community Service Center

keeping a low profile:
BAU 214 Suzhou Qingshan Hotel Phase I

positive space, human scale, and a blue-green net:
BAU 213-1 Jindi Yunhu Housing

dis-integrated guest houses :
BAU495 Pine Pillow Retreat

don’t look at me, don’t look at me:
BAU436 Nanjing Jiangning Demonstration Kindergarten

new buildings, old topography:
BAU424 Suzhou Qingshan Hotel Phase 2

don’t just re-use the typology, improve it!
BAU310-1 Hangzhou Changbanxiang Housing

defining the perimeter, programming the centre, inhabiting them both:
BAU238 Town Plaza, Xinqiao, Jiangyin

turning outside-in:
BAU199-2 Wuxi Fudi Forte Parktown Sales Pavilion

beyond PODS, networks, and nodes:
BAU552 Chengbei Urban Design project, Nanjing

podium and bill(ding)board:
BAU547 Nanjing Yaxi Town Central Hospital

inner sanctuary, outer crust:
BAU546 Nanjing Gaochun Qiqiao Hospital

an excessive minimalism:
BAU478-A U-Park Incubator, Shang Qing Huai, Nanjing

a plane of reference:
BAU474 Nanjing Zijin Gaochun Science and Technology City

rips in the fabric by place:
BAU461 Nanjing Tangshan Tourist Resort South District

other ideas of hospital:
BAU446 Fuding Hospital

architecture AND terrain:
BAU445 Suzhou Hi-tech District Cultural Center

crust: in-between and on the edge
BAU426 Shaoxing Jianhu Keyan Tourist Resort Planning

eco urbanism:
BAU425 Chongqing Eco Valley City

microcosm:
BAU348 Kunshan Hyper Complex

beyond the picturesque:
BAU347 Kunshan White Pagoda Park

don’t just re-use the typology, improve it!
BAU310 Hangzhou Changbanxiang Housing

building a community not just housing:
BAU302 Shanghai Ludi Baoshan

upside down program – ‘private’ circulation becoming ‘public’ circulation:
BAU254 Shanghai Wai Gao Qiao Culture Centre

extra-large private space as public space:
BAU199 Parktown, Housing, Fudi Forte, Wuxi

mini-me:
BAU197 Jindi Sanlin Pavilion

staggering:
BAU191 Wuhan Cuiwei Housing

urban camouflage:
BAU227 Hangzhou Sports Centre

positive space, human scale, and a blue-green net:
BAU213_1 Jindi Yunhu Housing

the resort at the end of the yellow dirt road:
BAU543 Emerald Village at Soul Bay

critical regionalism and abstraction:
BAU487 Nanjing Yaxi Citta-Slow

hospital for the ill, health care for the healthy, aged care for the elderly: BAU469 Zhaoxiang Hospital

communities as schools and schools as communities:
BAU408 Networks School Zhangjiang

tear open the package: BAU247 Qingpu NGS Supermarket

urban sponge:
BAU324 Cixi Commercial and Culture Center

lyrical islands in pragmatic seas:
BAU530_1 Nanjing Gaochun Su-Wan Interchange Hub

fractured enormity:
BAU281 Chongqing Huarun

ring roads AND peripheral parks:
BAU243 Shanghai Ring Park

simple box OR 3 points in space – you choose:
BAU204-2 Ningbo Wanda Office

many utopias:
BAU129 Xinhu Pearl City Housing Development

a close family:
BAU125 Zhejiang Power Company HQ

stretching, squeezing, bending, trimming:
BAU550 Huanglong Xigu Urban Design

BOTH networks AND objects:
BAU497 Wyndham Cove Eco Sub-urb

ethics, democracy, difference:
BAU470 towards a socially sustainable Canberra

warp and woof:
BAU460 Jingzhou Museum

sustainable technologies for clean living:
BAU396 Nanjing Residential

network of learning:
BAU341 Yushanwan School

not in galleries, but a way of seeing:
BAU338 Jingqiao Ramp Restaurant

shopping sandwich:
BAU321 Jiangyin Wuxing Commercial Centre

celebrating the collective, the intimate, the sustainable, and the local:
BAU312 Suzhou School

21st century Ponte Vecchio:
BAU287 Shanghai 2010 World Expo Bridge

antidote: not another ghetto city:
BAU285 Chengdu North Central

at last …finally …some diversity:
BAU282 Jindi Sanlin Office

recycling and beyond
BAU264 Jiashan Lu Apartment Block

an assemblage of difference:
BAU256 Shanghai Hongqiao Performing Arts Center

streets as shelters, bars as amphitheaters, landscapes as playgrounds:
BAU235 Jinqiao Community Bars

reduce, reuse, recycle:
BAU220 Shanghai Sculpture Space

binary oppositions defining a field of operation – all we wanted was a park:
BAU122 Xiamen International Exhibition Centre

the hotel as microcosm of the city:
BAU018 Marque Hotel

…very strange:
BAU016 Penny Lane

the beautiful and the extraordinary:
BAU013 Hopetoun Bush Resort

a dynamic yet stable vehicle:
BAU510 Suzhou Tram Co. Headquarters

palimpsest:
BAU486A Jiangyin Docklands Park

innovation both inside and out:
BAU433 Zhangjing Nobel Lake Park & Network

exquisite corpse
BAU416 Genetic City Caofeidian

landscape becomes urban design becomes architecture:
BAU390 Duolan Dong Dong Mixed Use Complex

BAU386 Symbiotic City

repetition and difference:
BAU384 Kunshan Pavilions

no longer drowning – waving:
BAU339-2&3 Suzhou Creek Promenade

yet another point of view:
BAU339-1 Suzhou Creek Serpentine Park

ordinary not heroic, symbolic not monumental:
BAU318 Hangzhou Xiaoshan Government Headquarters

woven threads:
BAU234 Jiangyin Arbour Park

private precincts, public networks:
BAU226 Pudong Yangjing

creative networks:
BAU224 Chengdu Fenghuangshan

maximize commuication and cross fertilization:
BAU208 Linping New City Centre

more than just a technopolis:
BAU206 Hangzhou Xiasha New City Centre

a second network embracing history, smalllness, and complexity:
BAU193 Chengdu West New District

a park for everyone and everyone in their park:
BAU189 Hongqiao Park

disorder – not randonmness but beyond order:
BAU182 Chengdu East Village

mosaics of teaching, networks of learning:
BAU149 Huai’an Tertiary Education District

walled cities within a walled city:
BAU147 Xi’an High-Tech Precinct CBD

co-existence without incompatibility:
BAU138 Jiangxi Xinyu Networks City

clarity and unpredictable adjacencies:
BAU119 Jinqiao Sports & Leisure Centre

space-time conflict:
BAU544 Shanghai University Campus

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