Project description

The programme of the project is developed through the current state of the site. The site is located in a man-made "natural scenery" which contains an artificial beach with sands transported from other places and a protected water area with sea water sedimented for tourist activities. The interaction between nature and man-made is inherited in the site and is shown through the evolution of coastal industries, changes of coastlines and man-made nature in current state. The project aims to explore how people and nature can coexist with no clear boundary in between. 

The project is an ecology research centre which also hosts public exhibitions to encourage people to understande and reconsider their relationship with nature. The research is about the ecological system in the surrounding area including water quality, different species of wildlives and plants and how human can interact with them. The exhibition contains a series of experience with different natural elements and glances of research processes. The architecture becomes a collector of natural elements and a device for people to view the nature.

The form of the building is inherited from the wave defences on site which were transformed into four towers with different themes of interactions with nature. The special form allows the division of private and public functions. The arms at the side of the towers also allow for future extension of the project for more research projects. The weathering and changing condition of the building through time is another important aspect as the interactions between nature and man-made objects.

Historical Changes of Coastlines

The project started with selecting and analysing a coastal site. Jinshan is chosen for the following developments for its location at the north side of Hangzhou Bay. The change of coastline over time is a demonstration of interactions between humans and nature. Due to the direction of the river flow, a lot of mud was accumulated at the south shore and formed tidal flat areas which allowed the cities at the south shore to extend towards the sea. On the contrary, the north shore kept retreating over time which influenced the coastal industries and the development of the cities.

Historical Changes of Coastlines expand
Historical Changes of Coastlines
Evolution of Coastal Industries

The industries along the coast developed from agriculture to tourism. 
The town was first developed through salt production. 
Due to the changing landscape, the city became one of the major coastal defenses of the country. 
In 1972, a petrol-chemical factory was built on the tidal flat area not to take lands from the residents. From this time Jinshan became a satellite city of Shanghai and became one of the major industrial towns in China. 
In 2005, an artificial beach was built to make a tourist site. The factories started to move to other places while tourism was developed.

The changing industries also show the changing relationship between man and nature.

Evolution of Coastal Industries expand
Evolution of Coastal Industries
Significant Edges

1. A green belt divides the residential area and the tourist site.
2. Looking towards the wetland and factories on the opposite side of the bay.
3. The beach area is divided by the wetland.
4. A breakwater separates the sea into two zones. The protected zone (right) is less wavy and clearer.
5. A new breakwater divides the current site and the newly developed area.

1. A green belt divides the residential area and the tourist site. 2. Looking towards the wetland and factories at the opposite side of the bay. 3. The beach area is divided from the wetland. 4. A breakwater separates the sea into two zones. The protected zone (right) is less wavy and clearer. 5. A new breakwater divides the current site and newly developed area. expand
Significant Edges
Relationship between Man-made Elements and Nature

The edges between humans and nature can be observed through their interactions. 
Humans are restricted by different rules. Some of the rules are set to protect or defend nature but natural elements are hardly influenced by these rules. The drawing shows different means of interactions between humans and nature. The influences of nature can be observed through the weathering of artificial objects.

The edges between human and nature can be observed through their interactions.  Human are restricted by different rules. Some of the rules are set to protect or defend nature but natural elements are hardly influenced by these rules. The drawing shows different means of interactions between human and nature. The influences of nature can be observed through the weathering of artificial objects. expand
Edges between Man and Nature

The specific site is chosen because of its location at the juxtaposition of different functions including wetland, beach, protected water zone, tidal zone, residential area, park, and factories in distance. 

Edge Conditions

The most significant edge for this project is the breakwater as it divides the sea into three zones. I picked the site at the water inlet of the breakwater which is also at the juxtaposition of two breakwaters. The water within the protected zone is clearer than the tidal area as the breakwater not only protects the tourist area from waves but also the mud in the sea.
Other edges between humans and nature including the moss and shells on wave defenses and weathering of different materials are also observed in the site.
Edges between land and sea include the buoys at the beach and defense between wetland and sea.

The most significant edge for this project is the breakwater as it divides the sea into three zones. I picked the site at the water inlet of the breakwater which is also at the juxtaposition of two breakwaters. The water within the protected zone is clearer than the tidal area as the breakwater not only protects the tourist area from waves but also the mud in the sea. expand
Edge Conditions of Selected Site
Surrounding Views

The site is far away from the land so it has 360° unblocked views. 
Views back to the land include the beach, the hotel, the park and the residential buildings.
Views towards the wetland also contains factories at the background.
The tidal area is at the east and birds are visible from all directions.
There is also a research area for plants next to the site where observations can be taken.

The site is far away from the land so it has 360° unblocked views.  Views back to the land include the beach, the hotel, the park and the residential buildings. Views towards the wetland also contains factories at the background. The tidal area is at the east and birds are visible from all directions. There is also a research area for plants next to the site where observations can be taken. expand
Surrounding Views
Progamme

The idea of nature and man-made is inherited from the site. The city was initially built on a tidal-flat area representing the natural state. Through the development of industries, the relationship between humans and nature evolved from collecting and preserving to mimicking. 

The changing condition of the concrete breakwater is an example of interactions between nature and man-made objects. The actions of building new things and penetrated by nature are like humans and nature ‘battling’ for habitat. 

Inspired by the current research about plants strengthening the breakwater next to the site, the idea of coexistence and collaborating is emerged.

The project is an ecological research centre which also hosts public exhibitions to encourage people to understand and reconsider their relationship with nature. The research is about the ecological system in the surrounding area including water quality, different species of wildlife and plants, and how humans can interact with them. The exhibition contains a series of experiences with different natural elements and glances of research processes. The architecture becomes a collector of natural elements and a device for people to view nature.

Different functions are divided according to private and public separations. Some of the research areas can also become a part of the exhibition. In this case, separate circulation with visual connections is required. 

The idea of nature and man-made is inherited from the site. The city was initially built on a tidal-flat area representing the natural state. Through the development of industries, the relationship between human and nature evolved from collecting and preserving to mimicking.   The changing condition of concrete breakwater is an example of interactions between nature and man-made objects. The actions of building new things and penetrated by nature is like human and nature ‘battling’ for habitat. Inspired b expand
Emerging Concept
The research is about the ecological system in the surrounding area including water quality, different species of wildlives and plants and how human can interact with them. The exhibition contains a series of experience with different natural elements and glances of research processes. expand
Programme
Form Development

The idea is evolved from the concrete wave defenses on the breakwater. Their form allows different compositions. Gaps created between two pieces create different spatial effects which can be integrated into the design.

Arrangements of Concrete Blocks expand
Arrangements of Concrete Blocks
Section of Breakwater expand
Section of Breakwater
Castings of the concrete blocks are used to test with different arrangements. expand
Casting Tests
Testing with Different Arrangements expand
Testing with Different Arrangements

The form of the blocks is simplified to become more efficient. The arms are used as circulation elements connecting different locations on the breakwater. Different uses of towers are considered, including a library, gallery, observation tower, and aquarium. The research area is placed in the arms for efficient circulation. The different programs can be read through the form of the building.

The height of each tower is considered not to block sunlight from each other. The functions and sequence of the journey are also considered.

The form of the blocks are simplified to become more efficient. The arms are used as circulation elements connecting different locations on breakwater. Different uses of towers are considered, including library, gallery, observation tower and aquarium. Research area is placed in the arms for efficient circulation. The different programs can be read through the form of the building.
Form Development
Material for Towers

Concrete is used for the main structure for exhibition space as it is found to be the most common material around the site. Looking at different materials on the breakwater, the majority of elements are made of concrete and stone. 

Weathering of materials in the coastal conditions is stronger than on the land. The durability of materials is considered as part of the towers sit in the seawater. Concrete and stone are both durable in water which makes the building last long in the sea. Stone is considered more sustainable than concrete but concrete is easier for construction. 

For exhibition space, a solid form is expected. Concrete can be cast into various forms which are suitable for creating different spatial effects in exhibition space.

Following the concept, the surface of the concrete is exposed. The weathering of concrete emphasises the interactions between nature and artificial objects.

Concrete Weathering around the Site
Concrete Weathering
Section across the Site expand
Section across the Site
Material for 'Arms'

Corten is chosen as structural and cladding material for the arms. The form of the building requires the arms to be ‘floating’. A lightweight structure is more suitable than concrete. Frame structure attached to the concrete towers creates a tectonic separation between two different programs and allows flexibility for interior organisation.

Another material option for frame structure is timber. Timber is a natural material but less durable under coastal conditions. Regular replacement is required if timber is used. 

Corten as a structural material has weathering layer on its surface and protects the strength of the steel. As cladding material, its surface changes over time which emphasis the effect of nature and time on the building.

Weathering of Corten expand
Weathering of Corten
Public & Private Divisions

The development of the plan focuses on private and public relations. 

The platform welcomes the public into the entrance tower which is an introduction to the rest of the exhibition. The public exhibition route starts from the roof garden above the office area. The sequence of journeys contains series of exterior and semi-interior spaces. In the water tower, the public travels through stairs and goes into the interior exhibition space. The glazing of the laboratory allows the public to view the research process. The cafe is placed at the end of the journey. 

Private and Public Division expand
Private and Public Division
The Public Journey Sequence of the Exhibition. expand
The Public Journey Sequence of the Exhibition
Site Plan expand
Site Plan
Basement Plan expand
Basement Plan
First Floor Plan expand
First Floor Plan
The platform welcomes the public into the entrance tower which is an introduction to the rest of the exhibition. The public exhibition route starts from the roof garden above the office area. The sequence of journey contains series of exterior and semi-interior spaces. In the water tower, the public travels through stairs and goes into the interior exhibition space. The glazing of the laboratory allows public to view the research process. Cafe is placed at the end of the journey. expand
Ground Floor Plan
The themes of each roof garden is related to the exhibition and tower themes. expand
Roof Plan
The arms at the sides of towers has both interior space and roof space for circulation. In order to allow tourists and staffs to have both experiences, their circulation crosses in one of the towers. The public goes to the interior and the private goes to the roof. expand
Section Unfold
In this tower the small windows on walls are for birds to build nests. The bottom contains an aquatic garden. expand
Water Tower Section
Structural System

To create floating effect of the arms, number of columns supporting the steel structure needs to be reduced. The final decision is to have the structure partially cantilevered. The thickening of concrete walls not only resist more pressure underwater but act as supports for steel structures.

To create floating effect of the arms, number of columns supporting the steel structure needs to be reduced. The final decision is to have the structure partially cantilevered. The thickening of concrete walls not only resist more pressure underwater but act as supports for steel structures. expand
Structural System
Detail Section of Steel and Concrete Connections. expand
Detail Section
Walkway Detail expand
Walkway Detail
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