A Walking Box

unarchitecte as Architect and Artist

In the Langqin Bay by the side of Aixi Lake in Nanchang City, there resides a kindergarten filled with elegant and delicate landscapes and colorful scenery changing through seasons. At the east side of the kindergarten’s main building lobby, there’s a double height indoor space of 100㎡, facing south to the yard. Having heard of the Climbing Park of Luofu Mountain, the kindergarten came to unarchitecte, and expressed their wish to create an activity space themed climbing net.


The architect intends to provide an activity space different from the regular figure in daily life for children, by which children will be enlightened with the awareness of the diversity and possibility of space. When happily exploring and frolicking, through the changes of dimension and shape of space, children can find laws and logic, and their perception of space is renewed.


A series of installations are inserted to fulfill this goal. The system is made up of five parts: an irregular shape box as the main body of steel structure, a complex steel structure compounded by 10 snap-in balls of different sizes inside the box, two surfaces that connects the two above –mentioned parts inside the box, polyester nets adhering to all frameworks, and eight bended tubes as the entrances and exits to the box. The main part of this installation is hanged by twenty-three steel ropes to the steel beams newly added to the top of the ceiling( the steel beams are anchored to former architecture’s carbon-fiber-reinforced structural beams), and meanwhile eight cable-stayed steel ropes help to stabilize it to the close-by structure columns.


The system, as a whole an installation one can participate in, possesses multiple activity space: the underneath and surrounding(filled and defined by drooping polyester ropes) of the floating box, the bended tubes as passing space, the interior space of the balls complex, and the three layers of space of different heights which surrounds the balls complex inside the box. To connect the indoor and yard landscape, three bended tubes sealed by tempered glass cross the glass curtain wall on the south side and lean out to the outdoors. These layers of space overlap and go further one by one, so do our eye sights when looking at them. Happily crossing the different spaces, children can enjoy a cautious exploration and continuing process of understanding.


So was born this whole-suspended box, made of polyester nets and steel structure and enclosed by six hyperboloids, gives redefinition of the space. The shrugging box and the bended tubes, together with the spiritual floating balls complex, vitalizes the space and gives it a posture about to walk. Therefore, the whole design helps to inspire children to look at various things in life from an anthropopathic perspective and with a caring heart, to understand and absorb the surrounding diverse information with an open mindset, so as to broaden their mind and teach through lively activities.


Here it is, a happy walking box striving to walk. Climbing within the structural system of the architecture while not limited by it, the box is just like the children inside or around him, who are confident and self-strengthening, happy and positive. Full of the passion for life and creativity, the walking box is accompanying children to grow up happily in the carefree playing.


INFORMATION

Architect in charge: Zhang Hetian

Design Team: Zhang Hetian, Sun Qingfeng, Xu Xuan,Sun Jihua

Area: 100 sqm

Development company: Yangguangyulu Group

Construction company: Jiangxi Fangzhi Architectural Engineering Ltd etc.

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