Sliced Porosity Block, Chengdu, China – Steven Holl Architects
The Sliced Porosity Block, in Chengdu China is by Steven Holl Architects, and is a magnificent buidling, due for completion in 2012. The structure is an experiment in volume, and an example of how the massing of a building can be altered, edited, pushed and pulled to create a more dynamic structure.
The mixed use building will offer the residents of Chengdu a vastly different structure, respectful of the local history and past, whilst also tipping its hat to the march of Chinese modernity.
“The ‘Sliced Porosity Block’ will be located just south of the intersection of the First Ring Road and Ren Min Nan Road. Its sun sliced geometry results from minimum daylight exposures to the surrounding urban fabric prescribed by code. Porous and inviting from every side, five vertical entrances cut through a layer of micro-urban shopping before leading to the elevated public ‘Three Valley’ plaza. A great urban terrace on the scale of Rockefeller Center, this multi-level plaza in the center of the complex is sculpted by stone steps, ramps, trees, and ponds and caters to special events or to a casual afternoon in the sun. Here the public space parallax of overlapping geometries in strict black and white is supercharged by color that glows from the shops positioned underneath the plaza.
The three generous ponds on the plaza are inspired by a poem by Du Fu (713-770), in which he describes how ‘Time has left stranded in Three Valleys’. (Du Fu was one of ancient China’s most important poets, who spent a part of his life in Chengdu). These three ponds function as skylights to the six-story shopping precinct below. Residing on voids in the facades of the sculpted blocks three pavilions are designed by Steven Holl (history pavilion), Lebbeus Woods (high tech pavilion), and Ai Wei Wei (Du Fu pavilion).
The ‘Sliced Porosity Block’ is heated and cooled geo-thermally and the large plaza ponds harvest recycled rainwater while the natural grasses and lily pads create a natural cooling effect. High-performance glazing, energy-efficient equipment and the use of regional materials are just a few of the other methods employed to reach the LEED gold rating”, Steven Holl Architects