The Napavilion is an intimate yet expansive geometric project designed by Geoffrey von Oeyen as an optical device for framing the landscape of rural Lantian County outside of Xi’an, China. This 190 sq ft project is a viewing and small group event space for international wine investors and local farmers in the vineyard surrounding the Jade Valley winery and resort. It was developed as a public-private partnership between the County government and the Jade Valley Winery as an opportunity to boost tourism and provide a community rest and gathering space for local families who live and work in the surrounding agricultural village. It has since become a regional tourist attraction.
The design of the ruled surfaces of the symmetrical walls, constructed of 97 sectional layers of dimensional lumber, change in angle, density and pattern to transition from a triangular to a trapezoidal elevation. The environmental differences produced through the design allow for varied daylight conditions, visual screening, wind baffling, and degrees of enclosure for standing, sitting, or napping. The stepped roof is covered, yet the level floor joists above the ground remain open to below, allowing cool breezes to flow inside. Supported by concrete columns recalling the slender concrete trellis posts in the surrounding vineyard, the pavilion's wooden structure appears from inside to float in the landscape. Formally, the pavilion’s scale, orientation, proximity to the hillside, and spectrum of visual transparency both register— and heighten an awareness of— the bucolic site conditions.
Professional builders, local laborers, and graduate students in architecture from the USC School of Architecture , the American Academy in China (led by Clifford Pearson) and the Xi’an University of Architecture & Technology (led by Rongrong Hu), participated in a multinational, multiethnic effort to construct the entire project in less than two weeks. The project realization required a unique combination of digital and manual construction techniques in rural China. Using paper templates derived from serial sections, the wood members were measured, cut, sanded, and assembled into frames that were fastened together into 12 sectional chunks. These chunks were trucked and craned into position, and bolted into place using locally fabricated fittings. Threaded rods were inserted to create the requisite longitudinal tension between the chunks.
Despite the crude conditions of the fabrication, including a shop yard and public sidewalks, the sectional chunks were built by students within a tolerance of millimeters. Many students had never used power hand tools prior to this experience. Long days in extremely high heat, heavy rainstorms, and strong winds required stamina and focus to maintain the tight schedule. Nonetheless, the unique and diverse team of rural professionals and international students, both women and men, working in collaboration between digital and manual techniques, accomplished the project fabrication and construction in less than two weeks.
Material Used :
1. Dimensional Lumber, various sizes - Floor, walls, and roof
2. Custom Steel Brackets - Beam connections
3. Site-placed reinforced concrete - foundations and columns