Rowing on Lake Taihu in Jiangsu Province of China, we may see a building resembling a bamboo forest hidden in houses. Designed by Steven Chilton Architects (SCA), the building, Wuxi Taihu Show Theatre, is inspired by the Sea of Bamboo Park in Yixing, the largest bamboo forest in China. Devoted to combine local culture and creative technology, it has been shortlisted for “The Top Ten Buildings for 2019” by the Times and “The 10 Most Anticipated Structures Set to Complete or Open” by CNN.
Its appearance consists of three primary elements, the columns, the shade canopy, and the building envelope. The tall and slender white columns symbolize an abstract impression of a bamboo forest. In our eyes, these columns look rambling. However, their positions are derivable from the structure of the canopy. Standing around the perimeter of the building, they form a screen between the building façade and the surrounding landscape. Meanwhile, they help lead visitors to accesses the building.
Wrapping around the perimeter of the building at the roof level, the shade canopy represents the thick leaves on the top of the bamboo forest. It comprises of many triangular bays where rows of gold anodized aluminum louvers are arranged. Each bay is orientated randomly and set at various angles to create an organic quality to the structure. In addition, it brings the variation of light and shade patterns that fall across the building envelope through the day.
Made up of rendered and painted block-work and curtain wall glazing, the building envelope is fitted with white and gold stripes that imitate the appearance of the bamboo forest and strengthen the effect of resemblance. To provide maximum views into and out of the main public areas, the glazing is designed to have the full height of the building in and above the entrance lobby.
In the evening, when illuminated from below, Wuxi Taihu Show Theatre is an ethereal beacon glimpsed between the “bamboo forest”, attracting tourists and audience in the surroundings.
This project is not the first try of SCA in China. It has completed lots of major theatres in large cities. Their mix of traditional culture and architecture design makes a hit here. Now, let’s enjoy their other works.
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(All the pictures above are reprinted from ABBS.)