Xuan Wang & Zhengxiao Wang
Darmstadt, Germany | View Map
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© Chi Zhang


Xuan Wang & Zhengxiao Wang as Architects

More than Concrete Hut


The pavilion serves as an information point and also as a meeting point for Botanical garden tours. The building was created at the crossroads between the institute building and the greenhouses, centrally in the entrance area of the garden. There it is the junction between the nature area and the building area and offers visitors a first orientation.


The surroundings, the existing neighbouring building, are relatively complex. Depending on their use and year of construction, the neighbouring buildings are made of different materials. The office building is timber-framed and was built in 1905. The steel and glass greenhouse is three times extended from 1945 to 2014. The laboratory building is built of prefabricated concrete in 1970. As a foreign body, the materiality of the pavilion plays a very important role to unite into a harmonious whole.


The pavilion has a complex shape, which is different on each side. The roof is an "intermediate form" between a gabled roof and a flat roof. The roof ridge is similar to greenhouses. Near the foyer it becomes a flat roof. Along the axis of the foyer a part of the volume is cut off. This creates a new forecourt between the existing building and the pavilion.


On the garden side the open space is like a pergola. The sun shines through the beams after the showcases.


The pavilion as an object is cast in concrete, similar to but also different from existing buildings. It becomes a new element of the botanical garden.


The pavilion consists of three parts. Foundation: The base plate indicates the small height difference in the terrain. On one side it is flush with the top edge of the terrain. On the other side the base plate is used as a bench because of the terrain.


Skeleton: The columns and curved beams standing next to the garden area define the space where visitors can read the information from the Botanical Garden on the notice board; at the same time, the columns and beams also indicate the opening up of the tour to lead visitors into the most important room of the pavilion and start visiting the Botanical Garden.


Roof: The roof serves to illustrate and change the dimensions of the space. The space under the roof is low at the beginning next to the entrance and increases in size after the transition from architectural dimension to natural dimension. The curved beams cut the roof in the direction where the path leads to the garden, therefore the beams form open space to the garden. Through materiality, the logic of the room design is also indicated.


The pavilion is completely concreted on site. The columns, curved beams and core are the narrow wooden formwork. The underside of the roof is wide wooden formwork. The upper side of the roof is sanded. The three different surfaces indicate the different space and context.


The concrete for the pavilion is not only a material, but also an ideal translator of the design concept. The elements of the pavilion come from the context, such as timber-framed office, steel-glass greenhouse and prefabricated concrete laboratory. All elements are alienated from each other and united. The pavilion as a unified object concreted to the earth.

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