Kunming, dubbed the Spring City, is a place where flowers flourish all year round and the moon-shape lake wonders. It has been a famous city full of cultural heritage, vigor and imagination since ancient times. No 9 Artistic Life House on Beijing Road, another reflection of local culture, and deconstruction of the Spring City, echoes people’s memory: Lake Dian, the mountains, the waters, the trees, the waterfalls, the karst caves, the light….When the users wonder through it, they will feel the power of nature and recall the memories of local culture.
Located on Beijing Road, Jindaoying Community, Old Town, Kunming, with a site area of 4150m²and covered area of 3535m², the Artistic Life House is a supporting building for the residential zone at No 9, Beijing Road. As the main axis of Kunming, Beijing Road weighs in the city’s historical and commercial value. How to make it a public place where people feel they are back in nature when actually they are in a crowded city is the challenge.
Locked in an irregular shape, the Artistic Life House enjoys a special site: three sides are surrounded by high-rise buildings and the fourth slopes out. Therefore, our initial idea is to use curves for the building to better integrate with the surroundings as if the volume is gracefully floating on the site, relaxing the close structures around.
The building includes two parts, underground and aboveground. The different spaces follow the principle of the upper being open and the lower being functional: aboveground is the hall, corridor, entry plaza, courtyard and other see-through landscape, providing spaces for social contact, leisure, art display and communication, and traffic; underground is outdoor, semi-outdoor sunken courtyard, and interior atrium in different heights and sizes complying with regional climate, linking swimming pools, gym, recreational facilities, playground and restaurants. All these create a dimensional and multi-functional community.
When mentioning Kunming, people would spontaneously think about Lake Dian. When the tides overflow the wetland, from afar people would have a vivid image of the trees standing above the tides, inspiring us to think of a light, dynamic, natural and curved shape of the building, as if the rising and falling tides were playing on the site and the trees popped out of “water”.
When designing we take the building, landscape and interior spaces as a whole and adopt the approach of architectural and structural integration so the building will appear lighter and more consistent: the vertical wall columns become solid elements with spacial features, formulating an arch with the roof; the double bracket floors at variable sections are filled with heat insulating materials; tubes and lighting fixtures are pre-embedded in the structure. All these reduce the visual block which traditional beams and columns usually do and create openness and an integration of the inside and outside as well.
The holes and operable skylights in the roof can keep the inside air moving, bring inside sunlight, and cast the changing shadows of the trees on the internal and external surfaces, a good way for people to enjoy Kunming’s hospitable climate.
As the main body, the upper part of the building uses plain white concrete, moulded into natural forms, showing local power and vigor. The large transparent streamlined glass and the skylights connect the underground and aboveground parts, forming various combinations of light and shadow: dark marbles are used through inside and outside on the floor and pools as if the water is flowing into infinite spaces like it in Lake Dian; The holes in the pool become the skylights for the second floor pool area that allow natural light, posing as a feather in the water.
The design creates a three-dimension spacial order by the vertical, horizontal, in-depth and temporal perspectives, and integrates modern life into it with the idea of form serving functions, fun, action and feelings; its free and strong form brings the area vitality.
The design is an exploration of the full use of local resource and supporting facilities, unique features of the site and human experience, an integration of community of this type and the environment under limited conditions. Continuous space, flexible and multiple functions, and rich space perception provide more possibility to future life and compose a new chapter for this city.