Location: Xian, Shaanxi, China
Project Work Status: Planning Phase Projects
Client: Xian International Horticultural Exposition 2011 Xian
Team: Chris Lee, Bolam Lee, Martin Jameson, Stephie Sun
Project Completed: Jan-2009
It is often assumed that the idea of the city is contradictory to the idea of landscape and nature. Thus more often than not, for landscape architecture projects worldwide today, we witness the endless proliferation of architecture that literally looks like landscape. Our proposal challenges these two tendencies. The history of the city of Xian, in particular its city walls is the starting point for our project. We derive 3 main concepts from this:
elements of the historical city and tradition of Chinese city planning is still relevant and compatible with a horticultural expo park.
a simple, clear and legible architectural structure can act as a powerful organizational element for an expanded territory many times its scale.
when architecture's pure form and geometry stands in contrast to landscape and nature, without altering the latter, the contrasting beauty between the two is mutually reinforced.
We propose a strong, simple and clear architectural artifact as a main organizing element for the master plan. We begin by re-conceiving the ubiquitous closed city wall as an unfolded wall, turning it into a linear structure that delineates the centre of the site. This one kilometer linear structure is made up of five green houses, each housing the different climate zones. Like the Xian City Wall, this new structure, we name the Five Climates Crossing will mark the centre of the park and simultaneously act as a connector, linking the Entrance Square on the north, Chang'an Park in the middle and the viewing tower on the south. Within the crossing, the green house is arranged linearly as five different episodes of climates zones, allowing visitors to move sequentially from one green house to another whilst maintaining visual connection to the outside.
The northern tip of the Five Climate Crossing marks the centre of the Entrance Square. We propose a square measuring 210m by 210m. The square is planned to be a flexible open space for both horticultural exhibitions and opening ceremonies. The centre of the square is marked by a flight of steps leading up to the Five Climates Crossing and is the lowest point in the square, creating a very gentle amphitheatre configuration. Radiating pavement lines focuses the circulation and attention to the entrance steps and centre of the square. At the same time, these radiating lines slices up the square to a pie chart like horticultural plots, creating a fan like configuration for exhibitions.
We propose Chang'an Park as a square that frames three small peaks and part of the lake in the middle of the park. The three green peaks framed by the perimeter block houses the Chang'an Concert Hall and 2 large exhibition halls. VIP lounges, restaurants, shops, ticketing and reception foyers are housed along the perimeter block. The foyer and principal views for the concert hall faces the lake and becomes an important principal facade for the lake view viewed from the south and east direction.
Depending on the available funding and time, the crossing can be realized in different lengths and different segments without fundamentally compromising the design concept and intention. The one kilometre long Five Climates Crossing is made up of only four repeating module. This allows off-site pre-fabrication construction, where different modules can be mass produced rapidly.