The project, located in Guangzhou, is a coastal defense education historical park built on the mountain, based on the original ancient forts with a history of about 150 years. This project mainly aims to improve the forts and their surrounding environment. The design content includes the entrance of the historical park, an indoor exhibition hall, linear exhibitions along with the road and identification systems, with a total design scope of about 10,000㎡.
There is a complete fort defense system around the site, which is well preserved. In the design, we mainly consider the enormous historical and ecological significance of the site. Therefore, while the design needs to be integrated into the environment, it should also refrain from changing the environment. Besides not damaging the forts themselves, we should also minimize the environmental impact on mountains and roads.
The entrance of the project is located at an unobvious crossroad on the hillside, and there is a tourist public toilet next to the entrance, which is negative and unaesthetic visually. In order to enhance the identifiability of the entrance of the project and shield the public toilet, we build a stone wall as the entrance of the historical park using local stones and rusty steel plates. While the wall itself became a marking point, the perforated weathering steel plate on it can shield the public toilet behind it. The construction detail of stacking stones in the steel cage brings more possibility to the diversity of the wall’s form, and the combination of the weathering steel and stone materials brings a steady historical sense to the entrance.
After that, we design a series of exhibitions along both sides of the road. The exhibitions are mainly about modern and contemporary history related to the forts. To make sure it is transparent for the tourists’ sight of the natural environment on both sides of the road, we design a series of randomly perforated weathering steel plates. The exhibition contents are printed on translucent acrylic boards and fixed on perforated weathering steel boards by advertisement nails. By controlling the modulus, we can freely adjust the exhibition content. The transparent display wall and the green shade behind it are combined and presented to visitors.
Attached to the forts, the vaulted building built by old red bricks is cleaned and repaired. We update the form and content of the indoor exhibition and then add lights according to its original characteristics. The spotlights facing downward meet the demands of the exhibitions, while the linear lights facing upward appropriately brighten the original red brick vault, forming a “new in the old” concept.
In the whole project, our main concern is to create a design suitable for “the site”. In the choice of materials, we hope that the design can integrate into the environment and reflect the heaviness of history, as an over-detached and exaggerated design is full of personality but not suitable for such a serious place. In terms of the construction method, we hope to provide more possibilities and reversibility for future changes. Therefore, we adopt a lighter transformation method based on the principle of protecting the historical site. At the same time, when the contents or forms of future exhibitions need to be changed, they can be replaced based on our design, which can reduce the damage to the surrounding environment.
Other landscape architecture offices involved in the design of landscape: School of Architecture, South China University of Technology
Project location: Guangzhou
Design year: 2020
Year Built: 2021