..............................TaiYuAnPark.............................................................................................................................................


Fact sheet

CREDITS :
Benjamin Beller

PROJECT :
Taiyuan Park _ Xuanxi North hutong regeneration proposal _ Hutong park + community swimming pool

SITE :
Beijing // XuanWu district // Taiyuan Hall

STATUS :
Competition entry

SIZE : 8000m2

COMMISSION :
Beijing Yanguang Real Estate

BUDGET : NA

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The former Taiyuan guild hall, located in the xuanwu district in Beijing, is a rather large compound of interconnected courtyards that was transformed over the years by incoming inhabitants to the point of becoming a hectic urban maze of micro private spaces. BaO response to the competition that aimed at retransforming this whole area, sprung from the observation of two ubiquitous issues in Beijing hutongs: the lack of open and generous public spaces, and the lack of medium scale community amenities. The TaiYuan Park project thus tried to superpose on top of each other a collective equipment in the form of an underground community swimming pool and a public space in the form of an open-air park. The swimming pool became conceptually an infrastructural plinth, a new datum, on which the Taiyuan Park could be implemented right in the heart of the busting city.

The park proposal is a celebration of the hutongs life and joie de vivre. The idea was to entirely liberate and open up the site while keeping the traces of the former buildings (legal and illegal properties) as a basis to reconstruct pavilions and landscaping. The whole park becomes a patchwork of different conditions and most of the former buildings become open halls where only the structure and the roofs are preserved. The experience become one walking under a sea of tree canopies and floating roofs, moving between open and closed spaces, hardness and softness, mineral and green, pavilions and amenities. Safeguarding the “trace of the plan” is here taken literally by means of maintaining rigorously all the former building implantations and signifying them by either changes in the ground conditions, specific markings, or preservation of the structural skelettons in the case of pavilions. Several small indoor buildings spread across the park house a series of community usages while the whole site is covered by a dense layer of trees that form a sort of explosive green lung in the middle of the grey city.

The swimming pool underneath the park is in stark contrast with what happens above. It takes the shape of a contemporary rational plan where the sequences between the spaces and the functions are as efficient as can be. One oversees the swimming hall from the lobby, goes through the ritual of changing and showering, before choosing to either access the bathhouse or the swimming areas. All the spaces are lit from above through rather large skylights that are distributed all around the park and which shape, size and location depend on the traces of the former buildings that were chosen for this function.
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