Wenzhou-Kean University Student Centre & Library

Wenzhou-Kean University Student Centre & Library

Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects
Wenzhou, China

Stories By
Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects

Beauty & The Bit

University Student Centre & Library

Schmidt Hammer Lassen architects as Architects

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects win international design competition for Sino-US cooperation Wenzhou-Kean University Student Centre & Library, China Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has been awarded first prize in an international competition to design the 25,000m² Student Centre & Library for the Wenzhou-Kean University in Wenzhou, China. Set on 500 acres in a rural mountainous region, the university will provide learning and living space for 8.500 students. The new building is located at the heart of the university and designed to embrace interaction and diversity, creating opportunities for new ways of learning in an informal environment and will become the central hub for student activities within the campus. Established in 2006, the Wenzhou-Kean University is cooperatively run by Wenzhou University and Kean University, New Jersey, USA. The university aims to merge Chinese and American teaching methodologies in practice from a global context. The winning proposal of the new Student Centre & Library is designed to embrace diversity, interaction and knowledge sharing. The new building connects the educational faculties in the south and student residence in the north. Set against a beautiful backdrop of mountains, the exterior of the Student Centre & Library appears as four rectangular shapes placed on top of one another. The building is wrapped in semi-transparent glass covered in an abstract fritted pattern. The facade is inspired by Wenzhou's mountainous terrain, and vernacular bamboo construction common in the city's historical architecture.

Located at the ground and first level, the student activity centre is designed as a central marketplace. Accessible from all sides, the activity centre will provide spaces for a cafe, theatre, dance and music studios, exhibition space, sports and games, and spaces for informal meeting and gathering. Stairs and bridges in the atrium connects the upper levels, where a grand "book stack" in the light-filled atrium leads up to the library and study spaces on the third to ninth floor. The library will house 30,000 books, a 300 seat lecture hall, and various space for study and research. Reading spaces are organised around the central book stack, leading to a grand reading room on the top level. Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects is one of Scandinavia's foremost architectural practices known for their award winning design in educational and public projects and have been active in Asia for almost a decade. Recently, the practice won the competition to design a new educational facility for the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht in the Netherlands. The practice' previous educational building designs include the Thor Heyerdahl College in Larvik, Norway, the award winning City of Westminster College in London, UK, and the new Island School in Hong Kong. Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has built a reputation for bringing a strong Scandinavian design approach to large complex public projects in China.

Wenzhou-Kean University Centre & Library

Beauty & The Bit as Visuals

When our good friends of SHL contacted us for crafting some illustrations for this project we were firstly impressed by the beauty of the environment. That immersive backdrop of mountains would serve really well for their project. We thought that for one of the exterior views we elaborated, it would be a nice idea to make a frontal view, nearly an elevation that showed in a concise way the stacked up displaced volumes that the project had. This view would also offer a clear glimpse of the bamboo fritted pattern with all its nuances.

This kind of view would add scale to the project as well as depth, layered between the different planes. Also the introduction of a reflective foreground between the architectural subject and the observer helps out taking distance. Regarding the implementation of a university feel in these days of overacted people crowding the scenes, plenty with kids and balloons we believe in something more subtle, as real life so our aim is always trying to reflect what actual photography would do. The interior scene was nearly a go-getter from the first draft. Chemistry between SHL and us is proven, so normally we are really aligned about what we/them want to see in the images.

This atrium offered us the opportunity to work with a lot of layered elements that also showed off the depth of the volume disposition. Heavy CG scene in opposition to the exterior view more painterly and free-handed, with lots of proxies handling. Again making student life credible is only a matter of common sense. We guess the success of these visuals resides in simplicity and being coherent with our own style, which relies a lot in photography, cinema, painting and storytelling.

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