Sports centre and urban formalization of a neighboring business park.
Designed during the professional experience at
The Architectural Design and Research Institute of Harbin Institute of Technology
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Conceptual and basic design of the sports centre, and conceptual design of the business park masterplan.
乌兰察布, Ulanqab (also romanized as Wulanchabu), is a small-sized Chinese city at the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia. This region is renowned for having a characteristic cultural background derived from its Mongol past, and a landscape of grasslands and rolling hills.
Characteristic landscape of Inner Mongolia.
The client commisioned the design of four city blocks in an area under development. Three of the blocks were to house a business park, and the last one would feature a sports centre. The client, who had a mining industry background, suggested that the main element, the sports centre, had some sort of connection with the mineral world.
For the sports centre, the initial approach for the design consisted of organizing the demanded spaces (swimming pools and paddle sports courts, mainly) in a functional, logical way, which helped the correct understanding of the building. In that sense, the two aforementioned sectors were divided by a central hall that went across the building so it could be accessed from both sides. Both for the pools and the courts, an upper ring was proposed from which an additional stand would descend, aside from the planned fixed one. This would help to dela with the audience fluctuation supposed for a relatively small city.
Also, the spaces in the building were organized in longitudinal stripes in preparation for what would be the next projectual step. Once organized, and taking into account the free space rquitrements for each activity, those stripes were covered with a roof that contains them, curving itself to adapt to the different height requirements, and shaping the building in a way reminiscent of the undulating Inner Mongolia grasslands. These artificial rolling hills are interrupted by a large glazed prism containing the hall, that arises like a gem between the hills. In fact, a walkable green roof was planned, to that the building would effectively be an undulating green hill in the middle of the city.
As for the business park masterplan, that did not have to be as precisely designed as the sports centre, efforts were put so that the organization departed from the usual one that limits itself to filling the lot with aligned buildings. In this case, the business park masterplan is designed following an adapted Radburn model. Cul-de-sacs are opened from the perimetral streets into the blocks, so that every office lot has an access from a street and another one from the inner court gardens. Furthermore, the inner courts are interconnected between them by a green path, that facilitates the circulation of pedestrians and non-motorized traffic though the area.
Also, avoiding to fall in a typical design again, different ways of characterizing the masterplan were taken into account. For example, the layout opens views to the sports centre, the main piece of the design; some axes that end frontally against the site are extended to its core, and singular elements (higher towers for example) are used as background ending elements for the strongests paths. All this contributes to perceiving the spaces as something that has sense and trascents de usual planning.