Ordinary not Heroic, Symbolic not Monumental
Xiaoshan is one of three new sub-cities of the provincial capital Hangzhou. A large portion of Xiaoshan contains the industrial zone Linjiang where residential, office, and service centres are also planned. The Hangzhou Xiaoshan Linjiang Local Council Service Centre houses the government departments responsible for developing Linjiang’s planning, infrastructure, land sales, and management departments. Built on reclaimed aquaculture land, this is the first building within one of the residential and service pockets of this enormous industrial zone. A water body to the south of the building has been retained and developed as a public park. Dormitory facilities have been built to the north of the building.
BAU believe that Government buildings at all levels (national, provincial, and local) have a symbolic role to play in the construction and legibility of ideas of community. However, often the emphasis is on authority and power, with the result being a monumental even heroic, often symmetrical and overly static architectural outcome.
For this project BAU suggested a different approach – a non-monumental, non-heroic collection of different, dynamic but stable buildings assembled to form a series of intimate human scaled courtyard spaces.
Community not Authority
While it could be argued monuments to those who are no longer with us deserve a solemnity and a sense of formality, the same symbolic gestures for living breathing communities often suggest a rigidity and impenetrability not desirable in local government service centres.
The building program is broken into three rows of separate buildings. A central lobby connecting all of the first two rows of public buildings including the exhibition building, auditorium building, and two conference and meeting buildings. The second row of buildings contains various departments and their in-house meeting facilities. The final row of buildings consists of a canteen building, two dormitory buildings, and a library and recreation building.
This campus typology presents the local council as a series of human focused and human scaled departments gathered together around a variety of intimately scaled open spaces. This is not a monument to the authority of the council, but a symbol of the community that the building serves.
Diverse and Complex not Uniform and Obvious
The result is a campus of separate buildings, each able to respond to their specific functional requirements, each focused on a series of courtyard spaces that respond to the adjacent buildings programs. This campus approach provides a rich and diverse environment for community visitors and the staff who spend their entire working day in the building.