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SILK
Semifinalist proposal in the internal selection process of the company.

Sports centre.
Urumqi, China.

Closed competition

Designed during the professional experience at
The Architectural Design and Research Institute of Harbin Institute of Technology
Company website ⧉

Tasks:
Masterplan and conceptual design of the sports complex.

July 2015
SILK
Semifinalist proposal in the internal selection process of the company.

Sports centre.
Urumqi, China.

Closed competition

Designed during the professional experience at
The Architectural Design and Research Institute of Harbin Institute of Technology
Company website ⧉

Tasks:
Masterplan and conceptual design of the sports complex.

July 2015

WHERE?

Urumqi, 乌鲁木齐 in Chinese, is a city in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in China. It has 3.000.000 inhabitants, and it is the main city in the far west of the country. The city features a semiarid climate with highly polarized summers and winters.

Xinjiang is a characteristic region due to the presence of multiple ethnic minorities, many of them of muslim tradition. In fact, the history of Xinjiang is strongly influenced by the existence of the Silk Road, of which Urumqi was an important hub.


WHAT?

The commission was for a sports complex in a somewhat irregular terrain over a plateau, and next to the perimetral cliffs of the latter. The complex would consist of an athletics stadium with seating for 30.000 people, an extra athletics field for training, an indoor arena with capacity for 10.000, another indoor pavillion for swimming and paddle sports, and housing for athletes and visitors.

HOW?

The first step towards the project conception was to study the structure of cities along the Silk Road. This model followed an arab style layout, in which the city structure is very regular, strictly following topography, but with a slight focal point in the main square, around which the mosque, bazaar, and administration were placed.

It was decided to imitate this features for the design of the project. Thus, analising the topography, paths were traced on the ridges, and a confluence point was found near the limit cliff, to the east. In the spaces defined by the paths, the demande facilities were placed and adjusted to avoid forced geometries.

The generating concept for the building was a different one, though. Drawing inspiration from the elliptic shape that many of the facilities required, white ovoid roobs were designed, with a certain texture to be reminiscent of silkworm cocoons. As a possibility, being this the natural shape that the roofs would have, it was proposed that they could be sustained by inflation. The only building that is not ovoid is the housing, that is located south of the main stadium, lightly surrounding it and definining a passage in between that is covered with textile elements, and that features small ovoid prefabricated structures housing commercial or merchandising stands.

General overview.

Stadium inner view.

On top of that, linking the buildings, a continuous metal-plank 'ribbon' is designed. It acts as a solar filter for the glazed facades of the buildings, and it widens and turns horizontal on the space between buildings to form a lattice shade that is very convenient for the weather in Urumqi. Also, in its final end, when surrounding the stadium, the ribbon rises a tip forming a pinnacle as a sort of 'minaret' over the central square of the complex. The planks in the ribbon are perforated with a motif inspired by Escher's metamorphosis that goes from an arabic valance to a chinese-inspired design, representing the union of these two cultures through the Silk Road.

Motif for the 'ribbon'.

General overview.

Stadium inner view.

Motif for the 'ribbon'.