..............................BaGuiLoon...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................


Fact sheet

JOINED PROJECT :
BaO & Atelier 100s+1

STATUS :
Concept design

PROJECT:
London & Paris blocks design (nine stories_Guiyang)

SIZE : 111 000m²

SITE :
Guiyang CET // Guizhou // China

CLIENT :
Guiyang CET Zhongtian

PROGRAM :
Landscape and commercial facade design for two city blocks under construction

 

COMISSION :
China Jingsai

 

TEAM :
Benjamin Beller, Huang Yi, He Long (Pulpo), Wang Tiantian, Zhen Ren Zhen, Zhang Licheng, Wang Yaqian

 
 
 

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BaO teamed up with Atelier 100s+1 for a project in Guiyang that invited five teams of architects to redesign parts of the projected Zhongtian Convention Centre housing blocks. Nine blocks were designated with nine different names of foreign cities. The housing towers were already under construction and weren't to be changed. Each team had to operate on two blocks/cities and propose new designs for the street level commercial facades as well as public spaces and landscape design for the inner courtyards. We inherited the London and Paris blocks for which we developed the BaGuiLoon project, a singular hybrid Paris/Guiyang/London environment.

Although, at first glance, the brief seemed weird and misplaced, this kind of situation is so common in China that we decided to actually give it a try without any a prioris. The issues linked to globalization and the examples of brutal importations of the so-called eurostyle in China, became altogether very challenging conditions for the project. How can we propose a contemporary reinterpretation of two major old European cities while avoiding copy/paste reflex on one hand and kitsch stylistic design gestures on the other?

Two proposals had to be made on each block for the facades and the landscape design. We formulated two inverted strategies to deal with the relationships of the two basic elements : the built (facades) and the landscape.

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Design strategy #1:

:: Paris ::
Facade // The Eiffel tower, one of the most iconic feature of Paris, is fragmented and subverted to become the main elements of the facade. Supporting a cantilevering heavy roof, the randomly placed fragments house the shop entrances and form a continuous steel&glass strip sectioning the building to bring light and rhythm to the deep inside spaces.

Landscape // French tradition of landscaping is based on geometrical arrangement of gardens and a nature shaped by men where plants are transformed into very refined architectural volumes. We propose in this scheme to create a "geometrical landscape" for Guiyang CET that instead of being based on baroque patterns, would rely on modern abstract geometry arts (Malevich, El Lissitsky).

:: London ::
Facade // The famous brick arches carrying London elevated trains tracks are reinterpreted to create a vaulted commercial linear volume. The apparent heaviness of the block is counterbalanced by the light array of arches supporting it. Going beyond the simple principle of adding a skin on the building, the arches, varying in width and heights, extrude inward to form stretched irregular vaulted interiors.

Landscape // England's hilly natural landscape, obviously contradicting its french geometrical counterpart, is the base of our soft undulating topography. The artificial surface alternates between hard and soft ground conditions while negotiating with the different heights of the site.

Design strategy #2:

:: Paris ::
Facade // French landscaping extensively use patterns to create gardens of various shapes and various styles. Our Paris facades design accordingly proposes to reuse a patterned white steel mesh enveloping the whole building. The rhythm and sizes of the columns reaching the upper lintel is dictated by the ground mapping, sometimes matching and wrapping around the structural columns and sometimes avoiding them.

Landscape // Paris map is scaled down and overlaid on the site to generate a workable landscape blueprint. Like a big scale collage, the map becomes a huge patchwork of materials. "Blocks" would be extruded whenever possible at different heights to create furniture, public spaces or 'green blocks'. Landscape's plazas, squares, streets and alleys would be defined by the accidental encounter between Paris and Guiyang CET urban fabrics.

:: London ::
Facade // British landscape's wilderness becomes the basis for the London façade design. We proposed an undomesticated green facade entirely recovered by planted wall system. Like in Paris' design, the boundaries of this wilderness, lintels and columns, are generated by the horizontal landscpae mapping principle.

Landscape // London's map, at the same scale as Paris', is overlaid on our site as the basic pattern for the landscape design. Characteristic materials of London city would be used to create the floor and plants patchwork. The Thames River, in Guiyang, is transformed into a Hyde Park-like large open grass area for leisure.

After discussing the options with the developer, the mapping proposals for both London and Paris landscapes were agreed upon as well as the perforated steel pattern curtain wall for Paris block. We made further proposals for London block's commercial facades based on the subversion of british flag (a 2D and a 3D proposal), floating Victorian row houses, and finally a red telephone booth proposal that was chosen by the clients. BaGuiLoon is now under the developer supervision who will decide of its implementation.