The location of this project is on the south side of the Shangri-La Park in Miaoli. Through the Forest BIG initiative, it is currently undergoing a transition period as the area is transformed into a forest that serves as a model intersecting both human and natural experiences and the gathering of knowledge. In a large experimental base field such as this, the five-needle pine and secondary forest vegetation which surround it create a pond and garden-esque landscape. Outside of this landscape, within the native foliage the occasional abandoned equipment or facility of the previously existing amusement park create a unique postmodern landscape where the land has been reclaimed by nature.
An abandoned residence located within a flat valley has been chosen as the base for the project. Nearly 300 meters of agricultural grade transparent silver nets have been knit together to create a space enclosing the residency at the center, the pond, and the grass, so that the majority of activities can occur within the enclosure.
The original ruined Chinese-style palace residences have been transformed into highly protected spaces that are used mainly as classrooms, kitchen space, rear space and workshops. The exterior of almost the entire building has been covered with large amounts of silver mesh and a misting system to combat the heat of the valley. In the main interior space is a collection of large rocks that were scattered nearby. These rocks are arranged, inverted, rotated, and fixed in place to use as replacements for every day furniture. For external lightning, a 3cm thick 3 meter squared Poly has been used as an external window system for the first time, giving off the soft luster of a pearl.
Ring Shaped Gallery:
60% of this un-closed ring shaped gallery is made of silver agricultural nets knit together as well as reinforced galvanized steel pipes to form a 300-meter long corridor, creating a slight sheltering effect from the surrounding wilderness. The scattered shadows cast by the canopy softly and sensually connect each of these multipurpose useable spaces. To a certain degree, the gallery also serving as a natural workshop which provides an experience created by the blending of wilderness and garden that allows for those that visit to learn more about nature, plants, and insects. From a protected space that provides visitors with a partially comfortable experience, through a journey made up of multiple non-typical spaces, and the "natural classroom" that is expected from this project.
Material choices and design concept are based on the topic of "Learning in Nature". Different aspects of exploring the topic are separately working with experts from all kinds of backgrounds and the results will be shared with the public in this experimental research base. In order to let architecture speaks for itself, the agricultural net house became a very interesting material to begin with.
Breaking into different aspects of this particular material, the fascinated part of it is suitable for the uniqueness and variety of nature in Taiwan. Taiwan's climate is humid and rainy, making it difficult to control pests and diseases of crops. In addition, heavy rainfall brought by summer typhoons causes heavy crop damage. Therefore, a system of preventive plant shelters assembled with net is the most common agricultural construction measure in here. Furthermore, there’s a switching point of view in this particular material, which originally is designed to take care of orchids, and we use it as a learning field for people to come in. It’s a soft boundary in between human and nature. They are close and intimate, but both sides are well protected.
As a mechanism for natural environmental control and crop balance, this system is extremely light, simple in structure, ventilated, and has characteristics of good light transmittance that allows shadow to form through the woods. The use of 80% and 60% translucent mesh fabric is suitable for the purpose of sites.
Light weight. Soft texture. Fast assembly. Manpower efficiency. Material efficiency. The entire structure excludes cement products to form a mobile building that can be quickly assembled and displaced. It is also equipped with flexible functions such as adaptability, durability and maneuverability.
The Forest BIG project is also deeply connected with renovation and short-term experimental goals. Due to these considerations, many materials were reused on site. For example, the main hall are surrounded by rocks which originally scattered around the sites. And facades of main house are shaped by origin structure with light-weighted and transparent nets system.
Primary building materials: rock, recycled pine, epoxy and corundum, unsaturated polyester resin, recycled models, silver knit mesh, black knit mesh, galvanized steel pipes, graded gravel