Earthly Pond Service Center of International Horticultural Exposition 2014 Qingdao

The International Horticultural Exposition 2014 opened in Qingdao on April 25th; the service center, “Earthly Pond ” is named after the extant lake on Baiguo Mountain where the building is respectively located. As the primary architecture of the Expo area, the buildings undertook multiple functions including circulation hub, activity center, restaurant, recreational landscape, cultural communication, exhibition, etc.

Considering the distinctive nature of the architecture and its geographical location, the following unique relationships require particular design treatments:

1. Architecture vs. Architecture – The service centers sit on the same central axial as the Expo Theme Pavilion, the building placement at such a significant location will require design treatment of the relationship between the “invisible” and the “visible”; i.e. the accentuation of the Theme Pavilion from afar, and yet have its own draw in proximity.

2. Architecture vs. Environment – The Baiguo Mountain and the Earthly Pond lake is the named project is located have outstanding natural landscape. Given the prominent location of the buildings by the lakes, the design treatment of the relationship between architecture and nature is vital to the deliverance of their organic integration.

3. Architecture vs. Human – Due to the unique nature of the service centers, which have to handle large circulation flow, the design has to ensure visitors from all directions can reach the service center area swiftly; and at the same time, it has to provide for visitors who can’t gain access into the service centers momentarily as a venue for viewing and resting.

In response to these issues, the designers proposed “landform architecture” as a design solution:

1. Reasonable use of differences in natural gradient – The sunken courtyard of the Earthly Pond Service Center is adjoined to the lake wetland. The architecture and landscape heights are set following the natural grade levels, providing multiple accessibilities and viewing experiences at different elevations. The main architecture spaces are lower than the surrounding street levels, facing the central sunken courtyard, thereby accommodating the visitors while affording view of preeminent water landscape.

2. Preservation of the extant landform, landscape and vegetation to the greatest extent – All of the hundreds of trees in the Earthly Pond Service Center area were preserved in their entirety; a rooftop platform and green space were also created, which promoted building efficiency and helped integrated the architecture into the landscape.

3. Multi-trail system – The Earthly Pond Service Center applied a 3-dimensional diamond shaped grid system in the design. The grid carried out self-adaptive adjustment according to the variations in landform and functional needs, and achieved the eventual design of the overall architecture and landscape under the pretext of constant adjustment parameters. During the adjustment process, the adaptation of the landform and longitudinal adjustment of elevations are very important, such that created a series of sequential spatial systems at various heights consisting of the rooftop platform, observatory deck, plaza spaces, etc., which are formed following the extant landform morphology; the step system formed following the diamond shaped grid system became the transformational element interring these series of spaces. The architecture is then seen as a variant of a parametric control of a certain level, integrated into the geometric system, delivering a cohesive spatial system of architecture and its environment.

Entrant office name: HHDFUN
Role of the entrant in the project: Architect

Other design firms involved:

Landscape Designer: HHDFUN
Lighting Designer: HHDFUN
LDI:BDGQingdaobeiyang architectural design co., LTD
Photographer: Zhenfei Wang; DuoCai Photograph (Aerial views)

Project location: Qingdao,China
Design year: 2012-2013
Year Built: 2013-2014
Site area: 23000 m2
Floor area: 6539 m2

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