Aesthetic Bamboo Clouds White Crane Lake Visitor Center by Archperience Design
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All images by Jianghe Zeng, courtesy of Archperience Design
The exclusive Visitor Center which was inventively designed by Archperience Design, is the centerpiece of a comprehensive development initiative for White Crane Lake. The challenge for the designers was placing a stylistically modern cultural building aimed at increasing tourism, in a natural environment defined by its quiet ambience. The project had a multitude of functional requirements to fulfill, while balancing the need to elegantly coexist with a landscape of forests, mountains, and the lake itself. Located adjacent to Yingtan City, Jiangxi Province, White Crane Lake covers an area of 10 square kilometers and boasts panoramic views of the horizon, bamboo forests on its shores, calm waters, and a vast blue sky above, creating a tranquil and poetic atmosphere for visitors.
On his first visit to the site, Architect Yang Jin’ang’s intuition and experience birthed an idea of a general design approach which was decisively determined. Rather than overtly associating with the local residential architectural style or excessively emphasizing traditional materials and methods of construction, the new building would instead accentuate the natural qualities and atmosphere of the site of White Crane Lake itself. Located on a tidal flat, the exclusive Visitor Center is surrounded by deep natural environmental factors that give visitors the impression of simultaneously walking through trees and clouds, high in the sky.
Responding to the unique natural environment in an architectural expression, the inventive design thinker architects proposed a concept of “Bamboo Clouds by the Water”, as a means of evoking this fleeting and deeply poetic early morning atmosphere, and integrating the four site elements of water, shore, bamboo and cloud. The design also incorporates rounded forms and curves, softening its relationship with its surroundings and giving the impression of flow and movement with the views of its form and environment constantly changing with every step, unfolding like a traditional Chinese scroll painting on the lake.
Architect Jin’ang Yang the Principal Architect of Archperience Design told Buildace Magazine that, “Bamboo clouds by the water” is mainly inspired by the uniqueness of the site: the lake, the surrounding bamboo forest, the dense fog and mist rising and dispersing in the morning. It is a new artificial building, but at the same time I wanted it to be gently integrated into the existing environment, taking its place seamlessly amongst these natural elements. That was the challenge, and the most interesting aspect of the project.
CREATING THE BUILDING’S SKIN
The scheme incorporates a transparent, undulating glass volume with a second layer of “bamboo skin”. The continuous skin appears to float over the glass volume, analogous to a gentle cloud of bamboo by the water – while formally, it integrates the separate building masses, giving the building a sense of fluidity, continuity, and integration with nature. The form of the woven “bamboo skin” was developed according to an analytical design process: first, the defining line of the building’s envelope was established according to programmatic and formal considerations and reference were made to the building functions and the particular view of the landscape at each point which reflect the semblance of a floating bamboo cloud from the exterior, and ensuring the best possible views from the interior public spaces.
In the process of developing the final form and texture of the woven “bamboo skin”, the architect conducted a series of schematic explorations through a large number of computer analyses pointing at various potential patterns which could be incorporated. In order to ensure durability and the desired visual and tactile effect, cost reduction, long-term viability and easy maintenance, extensive consultations regarding the building skin were made by both the client and suppliers, and important on-site testing was also conducted. This led to an adoption of a special surface-treated metal alloy, which provides a robust material with a strong resemblance to natural bamboo as all the parties involved agreed that it was the best solution. A comprehensive lighting system was also integrated externally to provide the much needed light during the night in a very unique manner that brilliantly lights up the building and makes it shine like a bamboo lantern floating on the lake, creating a visually memorable scene for visitors.
In the courtyard enclosed by the building volume and a series of elevated walkways, the architect has carefully placed a spiral staircase: it allows visitors to ascend to the second-floor viewing platform from ground level, but also provides a strong visual focus for the courtyard space overall. Its concentric circular steps with changing radii and variegated side railing create a dynamic, complex shape which provides a creative tension with the other elements of the space.
A borderless pool has been incorporated into the roof terrace on the second floor, which has been designed so that the surface of its water seems to blend with the distant blues of the lake and sky beyond when looking over and across it.
The visitor center is divided into a number of clearly legible volumes, whose functions include a general reception area, restaurant, conference space, and VIP Club, among others. The reception hall is located in the southwest portion of the site to offer convenient accessibility, the restaurant occupies the northwest side which offers the best views of the landscape, administration is in the quieter southeast corner, and the VIP Club is placed on the top floor to maximize views of the lake.
The architect took on the project with the intent of applying an approach informed by a kind of poetic imagination, ultimately arriving at the concept of “bamboo clouds on the water”, allowing the new building to gently integrate with the surrounding mountains and forest, seamlessly taking its place among the natural elements of the area. The mist that rises from the lake in the early morning is transformed into an edifice which seems to hang in the air, receding into floating clouds of bamboo on the shore.
Archperience Design is a Beijing-based architecture studio whose philosophy is predicated on exploring innovative design strategies, derived from each project’s unique economic, cultural, and technological parameters. In doing so, the studio aims to achieve the highest aesthetic and experiential quality by going beyond the traditional constraints of scale and function, and to provide maximum value to each project’s client, users, and city.
To facilitate this, Archperience incorporates design concepts which involve the full integration of the elements of architecture, landscape, and interior design at each stage of every project, giving equal emphasis to conception, planning, design development, and construction.
This approach favors problem-solving through holistic thinking and creative methodologies from beginning to end, and is an accurate expression of the value we place on unique design solutions, careful attention to detail, and the highest construction quality possible.
Project Name: White Crane Lake Visitor Center
Project Location: White Crane Lake, Yingtan, Jiangxi Province
Site Area: 6500㎡
Architecture Area: 3620㎡
Design Period: 2021.08 – 2022.6
Construction Period: 2021.12 – 2023.5
Project Architect: Jin’ang Yang
Design Team: Chuanhui Huang, Zhendong Wang, Zheng Zhang, Huijuan Wang
Design Institution: Archperience (Beijing) Design and Consulting Co.
Interior Design: Archperience (Beijing) Design and Consulting Co.
Lighting Design: Jiangxi Zhongye Landscape Engineering Co.
Landscape Design: Jiangxi General Institute of Architectural Design and Research
Developer: Jiangxi Guogui Culture & Tourism Development Co.
Main Materials and Brands:
Metal alloy (Special surface-treated with bamboo texture)
Glass curtain wall
Dark grey aluminium plate
Photography: Jianghe Zeng
Munirat M. | Buildace Magazine
Buildace Magazine received this project from our project submission feature. We encourage our readers to send in their projects for publication.