“Leaning on the edge of the cliff, overlooking in all directions, enjoying the heavenly leisure.” In Li Bai’s verses, Mount Tai, the chief of the Five Sacred Mountains, breathed the air of the world and accommodated the most beautiful scenery of all. Faced with the ancient strata that have undergone 3 billion years of evolution, human beings are as small as a drop in the ocean, and how buildings, the habitat of human beings, will be integrated into the natural order?
Jiunvfeng Bubble Pool is located in Dongximen Village, Tai’an, Shandong, a typical mountain village in northern China, occupying the natural beauty of the surrounding area of Mount Tai. However, due to the loss of native population, the village is gradually going into a depression. On the other hand, the cities are growing at a high density during the peak construction period. Crowding and high pressure make urban residents yearn for natural pastoral scenery, but there is nowhere to meet their needs, coincidentally, the village eagers to revive urgently need a stimulator.
Regarding this project, we began to think about the possibilities of city’s back-nurture effect for village –How can spatial design activate backward villages, create IP for declining villages, and attract more attention? How should the new rural public space respond to urban residents' desire for natural countryside? How should we face the original natural beauty and dialogue with it? Jiunvfeng Bubble Pool came into being in such a context.
Balance of Space
In the design concept, Jiunvfeng Bubble Pool is a strategic response to nature, and it is the “acupoint” for the rebirth of the whole declining village. The primitive poverty-stricken village to be renewed and the world-class magnificent scenery, the pool is located between the two, with its pure, transparent, flowing sense that balance the two kinds of temperament.
Jiunvfeng Bubble Pool is a pure white brush stroke in the village at hillside. It is a response to the mountain forest and the magnificent sky. Dialoguing with the lingering twists and turns of the natural veins of Mount Tai, it resembles a precious shells lost in the clouds of paving-stones.
The location selection and function placement were inspired by geographical conditions and spatial demands. Walk to the entrance of the village, pass through the guest rooms scattered along the mountain, and climb up the steps along the path made of original stone in the mountains. The pure white pool appears in the forest vegetation. The function placement of the Bubble Pool is derived from the hydrophilicity of people and the healthy and energetic life attitude of urban people. It forms a complete streamline and function linkage with the guestrooms at the foot of the mountain and the Study on the mountain.
The functional zoning of Jiunvfeng Bubble Pool is a specific response to the rural settlement and mountain environment. It is divided into three zones: changing room, sea bath and fitness, thus forming three volumes:
The west side is a semi outdoor sea bath area. In order to ensure the flow and permeability of the Bubble Pool’s architectural form, the column-free, unobstructed and pure space is of utmost importance – a pure white roof rising from the ground with a stretching shape and a 10-meterg overhung roof protruding towards the mountains, sheltering the Bubble Pool. While creating its “growth” posture, the guests in the pool can enjoy the natural landscape directly.
The east side is the interior part, which is convolution and restraining in shape. The small arc shape comprises functions such as reception, changing room, bathing, small sauna room, etc.
The south side is the gymnasium, facing the village and the foot of the mountain. The neat aperture of the “Shell” indicates the entrance. The building orientation continues the natural trend of the mountain village that built along the mountain.
The changing room and the sea bath area are connected by an arc shape, facing the mountains and ridges in the northeast, so as to capture the mountain scenery while achieving the space requirement for privacy. Looking distantly, Jiunvfeng Bubble Pool is like a cherished shell lost in the sea of clouds on Mount Tai. The three enclosed spaces are naturally generated to accommodate the original landscape, conform to the context of the mountain, and establish a balanced connection between nature and the village.
Weakness of Volume
The Bubble Pool intends to create a weakened sense of building volume in the vast mountains.
The white special-shaped curved surface forms a free space opening, combined with the large-area transparent facade, and the environmental restoration and landscape transformation of the surrounding mountains, blurring the boundary of inside and outside.
Internally, it creates a sense of scale of a person, and the space defined by the cantilevered curved roof gives the experience a sense of security and comfort; externally, it is a kind of introversion in the face of vastness, and the weakening of the volume to interpret the subordination relationship between architecture and nature.
The fitness, changing room and sea bath areas adopt three different facade forms. From the perspective of function, the three forms of “virtual”, “real” and “formless” are used to interpret the transparency that the design wants to express:
The gym opens to the south. The opening surface is separated by hidden columns and connected to the glass wall. The “virtual” facade captures the scenery of the village, introduces daylight, and defines the thermal insulation indoor fitness area.
The changing room has the high requirement of privacy. The metal mirror facade material with high reflection characteristics is used. The flowing outdoor scene is mapped to the building exterior wall to ensure the “realness” of the internal space and let the building volume “disappear” in nature, presenting a kind of reverse ultimate transparency.
The sea bath area is a hollow opening without columns and walls, facing the mountains and forests, which achieves a true zero-distance contact with the nature. The cantilevered roof defines the use space. In the sea bath, the free curve of the white roof in view echoes the contours of the distant mountains, and the native scenery is framed in the pool.
Simplification of Construction
In order to achieve the effect of rising from the ground and the all-white and smooth modeling features of the Bubble Pool, the construction process balances the relationship between the building, the landscape and the interior, making them complement each other, while the structure and materials are as simple as possible.
The 10-meter cantilevered Bubble Pool roof adopts factory-prefabricated curved steel keel, which provides technical conditions for free and smooth formation of the shape. The horizontal and vertical keel is designed by precise modeling and calculation for volley connection and fixation on the foundation, which is firm for construction and convenient for installation.
When the main frame of the building completes construction with steel keel, it is coated with an insulating layer and covered with a stainless steel surface with high plasticity, toughness and mechanical strength. After high-precision curved surface joining and careful polishing, it achieves a smooth and seamless state, so as to provide conditions for the free flow of the form.
Consistent metallic white paint inside and outside ensures the integrity of the building, which, combined with large floor-to-ceiling glass walls and high-reflective glasses, creates a pure and transparent look.
Far away from the hustle and bustle of the city and the high-speed pace of life, you may find a place for yourself in the mountains and forests. Jog, bathe, meditate, and return to nature and dialogue with the distant mountains. Jiunvfeng Bubble Pool appears with a “growing” posture on the mountainside of the western foot of Mount Tai. Its concise curved surface is function-driven, and is based on the activation and renewal of Dongximen Village. Jiunvfeng Bubble Pool’s effect on nature and villages will be like its flowing surface form in the future, free growing, reasonably order, and dredging vitality.
Project name: Jiunvfeng Bubble Pool and supporting facilities on Mount Tai
Project location: Daiyue District, Tai’an City, Shandong Province
Design firm: gad · line+ studio (architecture, interior, landscape)
Chief architect/Project leader: Meng Fanhao
Design team: Meng Fanhao, Zhu Min, Zhang Erjia, Xu Hao, Zhu Jun, Jin Xin, Li Shangyang, Deng Hao, Hu Jinwei, Zhou Xinyi, Jin Jianbo, Chi Xiaomei
Floor area: 280.26 square meters
Design period: 2019/02-2019/05
Construction period: 2019/09-2020/06
Client: Lushang Pusu (Tai’an) Cultural Tourism Development Co., Ltd.
Structure Coordination and Construction: Hangzhou Zhongpu Building Technology Co., Ltd.
Materials: Steel, white spray, mirror stainless steel
Photography: zystudio, Sun Lei