Scenery is beauty; nature is grandeur. Abandon screams and self-expression, and embrace silence and tranquillity… ‘Retreat’ is a design attitude.
Sitting next to the third largest public urban park in the world, Chongqing Vanke Forest Park Sales Gallery is a retreat between the city and nature. Designed by LWK + PARTNERS, the gallery is a magical house hidden in nature, and a wood cabin among fir trees. At its initial opening, the building is the sales gallery of the residential project, but it will turn into a kindergarten for the community in the future.
In terms of design, the architecture satisfies both the initial commercial sales function and the later educational function, as well as portrays the overall design concept of Chongqing Vanke Forest Park.
Returning to nature is an important part of modern city lifestyle, and LWK + PARTNERS integrates this idea into the project as a key design concept. Hence, a gigantic ‘mirror’ is mounted on the building’s elevation to reflect the 5,000-square-metre fir woods, and a wood cabin is cut out at the base of the mirror.
Visitors enter the forest into the infinite illusion created by the reflective mirror, until they reach the cosy wood cabin – a home in nature. For children, who are the future users of the building, entering this wonderland allows them to explore the unknown world behind the mirror.
The ‘mirror’ must have high reflectivity as a key design feature, satisfying the building's energy-saving, insulation and lighting requirements as a curtain wall. After multiple tests and trials, an exposed insulated unilateral glazing was picked to effectively fulfil the needs of reflectiveness and the indoor environment.
In order to create the aura of ‘a wood cabin in the mirror’, the project has high requirements for synergy between architectural design, landscape design and interior design. The 5,000-square-metre fir woods is a container provided by the landscape; the architecture retreat into nature through the mirror. The interior design of the Hall of Seeds adds to the overall concept. The three elements work together to enliven the building.
The most beautiful architectural form is a symbiosis with nature. Chongqing Vanke Forest Park presents a new way of life for urbanites by offering a home for retreating to natural beauty and forest charm. The sales gallery is therefore a gateway for exploring the possibility of adopting such a lifestyle.