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The Commercial Skywalk of “Future Ark”

The Commercial Skywalk of “Future Ark”, is located in an extreme terrain condition which is 800 meters long, 75 meters wide and 80 meters high. The contour lines of the mountain are in a zigzag shape, which makes it difficult to arrange the plan and greatly increases the complexity of the entire project. There are spectacular and unique landscape resources of Nanming River winding along the long side of the mountain. Under the conditions of the lush and green trees, the sharp difference in the topography and the extreme terrain of the central Guizhou hilly landforms, how to realize the concept of protecting the environment, safe development, optimizing the landscape and achieving an accessible sustainable design become the entry point to this project.

Detailed description of the project:

Design background:
The project is located on the mountain on the east side of the Nanming River, the mother river in Guiyang, with a total land area of 50,905 square meters. The site is about 75 meters wide from east to west, 800 meters long from north to south, and the height difference between east and west sides reaches 80 meters. The project is mainly composed of 7 building units, and mainly provides commercial, apartment and related services.
Environmental sensitivity and sustainability:
1. Unique topographical environment: The project is in an extreme terrain—-a narrow land with a length of 800 meters from north to south and a width of 75 meters from east to west. The height difference from east to west is 80 meters. There are lush green trees on the mountain. While the slope is steep, which makes the construction extremely difficult and prone to destroy the original ecological vegetation and create landslides. The mountain contour is in a complex and continuous zigzag shape, which is different from the ordinary mountain and makes it difficult to deploy a relatively complete plane. Under the premise of the priority of environment, how to ensure the integrity of the natural form of the mountain after construction, avoid damage to the mountain vegetation and prevent accidents such as landslides from happening during the construction process should be the first entry point of the sustainable design of the project.
2. Unique landscape environment: The project is built on the mountain. Under the condition of complex contour lines, the mountain shape is varied and the slope is steep. Guiyang’s mother river, the Nanming River, flows across the city and winds along the foot of the mountain, making it possible to see the river view along the long side of the project, which is over 800 meters long. The magnificent and unique environment surrounding the mountains and river is a unique landscape resource. How to integrate the building into the mountain environment to add color and become a new landscape, let the building fully make use of the advantages of the mountain and water landscape, and realize the harmony and unification between the building and the environment should be the second entry point of the sustainable design of the project.
3. Unique traffic environment: The Ring Road Expressway in Guiyang City is above the mountain where the project is located and the urban road inside the “Future Ark” is at the foot of the mountain, which provides vehicle transportation at both the upper and lower ends. In terms of entry conditions, the height difference between these two parallel roads, Panshan Road and the waterfront landscape road, in the vertical direction is nearly 80 meters. In the context of a differentiated environment, how to make the project intervene in the city in a suitable way, and achieve a complete interpretation of the internal functional flow lines and grammatical relationships under the entrance conditions of the upper and lower ends is undoubtedly the third entry point of the sustainable design of the project.

Design strategy of the project in disaster mitigation, climate adaptation and environmental restoration:

1. Zigzag layout: As a saying in Guiyang: “the weather will not last sunny for three days, and the ground will not be flat for three feet”, the contour of the mountain is not a common annual ring shape, but is staggered with multiple peaks and in a shape of zigzag. Traditional mountain architecture design patterns are no longer valid. In order to reduce the amount of earthwork excavation, based on the principle of breaking up the whole into parts, a number of slab buildings are staggered along the mountain to fully expand the surface to the outside. It is a kind of strain to the environment.
Hanging building: When the mountain is steep and it is difficult for the building to obtain sufficient construction site, the project often faces a problem of huge amount of earthwork development. To avoid this problem, by simulating the actual form of the mountain environment by computer, under the principle of taking the minimum earthwork, this design draws inspiration from the traditional “Pile Dwelling”, so that the building is suspended above the mountain and get supported by only a small number of structural columns and core tubes on the mountain. Under the concept of a suspended building, on the one hand, the building is light and elegant, the original landscape and vegetation of the mountain are protected as much as we can, and the ecological problems and hidden dangers of landslides caused by development are avoided. On the other hand, it also effectively liberated the vertical restraint of the building, allowing the building to be more flexibly integrated into the mountainous land and connecting roads. In addition, the building is elevated above the mountain, which can effectively avoid the intrusion of the typical humid air in Guiyang on the indoor environment.
2. Continuous Folding Plates: The zigzag-shaped plate buildings do not exist in isolation from each other. The design uses four-dimensional continuous folding plates to splice individual building units together in a DNA-spiral pattern and create a link among theese individual building. This shape of folded plate and the building entity are interspersed with each other to produce a variety of gray spaces, which greatly increases the layeredness and agility of the building space.
Commercial Sky Street: In the space of continuous folding plates, the designer further proposed the concept of ‘Commercial Sky Street’. Through the north-south connecting bridges, the overhead layers of each building were implemented to realize the commercial pedestrian connection between multiple building units. The sky street is set about 30 meters above the ground to avoid the jagged mountain-shaped barriers and integrate the buildings in a simple way. From this, the commercial moving line model is constructed, which starts from the east side round-city expressway entrance plaza, through the commercial sky street and the west side riverside commercial belt, and finally ends at the west side city road. People shuttle through the sky street, experience the spatial transformation that from indoor to semi-outdoor and to outdoor, integrate themselves into the mountains and overlook the Nanming River.
3. Long scroll of traditional Chinese painting: The stair-mounted slab buildings all face the side of the Nanming River. The design breaks the rule of traditional architectural gables and proposes the concept of landscape gables. The composite curtain wall is formed by transparent perforated plates and glass which introduces the landscape of the river into the interior space of the building. At this moment, the gable became a view window to appreciate the landscape of the Nanming River. Looking up from the Nanming River, the gable wall is transformed into a display surface of the riverside landscape. The design adopts a parametric design method to extract pixels from ancient Chinese landscape scrolls and reproduce them in the form of colored glazed dots, creating a colorful and abstract art form. This long scroll unfolds along the Nanming River and is intermittently connected. It stretches 800 meters, integrating and contrasting with the environment, and greatly mobilizes the environment atmosphere along the river landscape.

Name:the Commercial Skywalk of “Future Ark”
Location: Guiyang City, Guizhou Province, China
Design: 2013-2015
Completed Date: 2018
Floor Area: 128383.2 m2
Site Area: 50905.8m2
Architect (Studio): Architectural Design & Research Institute of SCUT Co.Ltd.
Project Category: Public Building
Architect: Haoxu Guo,Mengren Deng,Yifan Chen,Yan Li,Jiexing Xu,Zhuosi Yang
Structural Engineer:Yuezhou Zhou,Shenyin Yang

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