Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop

Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop

Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Outdoor PhotographyAranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Exterior Photography, Brick, FacadeAranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Interior PhotographyAranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Exterior Photography, Brick, Facade+ 30

Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Interior Photography, Brickwork, Facade
© Runzi Zhu

Conversation between Building and Site. The mountain art center is located on a ridge line. It stands beside a winding path that starts from the foot of the mountain. It connects the typical boundless northern mountains, as well as the valley community across the ridge line. When residents or visitors walk up the winding path, this art center will greet them first. Its east and south sides face the mountain road below and enjoy continuous mountain views. Its north side overlooks the villas that spread out along the hill. Its west side adjoins the community and serves as the end of the street. Because of this particular location, the art center is both a landmark of entry and a hub for the community.

Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Outdoor Photography
aerial view. Image © Runzi Zhu
Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Exterior Photography, Stairs, Facade, Windows
© Runzi Zhu

For the strategy of the site, this design aims to make the small building a real landmark in nature. He should neither be too humble nor too arrogant. At the same time, it must be in harmony with the human scale of the community street. A thick volumetric sloped polygon roof and a volumetric base that wraps around the retaining wall combination give the building a monumental scale facing the mountains. At the same time, the careful design of the height and slope of the roof gives the building a low facade facing the community, responding to the scale of the villas.

Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Exterior Photography, Brick, Facade
© Runzi Zhu
Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Image 19 of 30
concept sketch

The base of the retaining walls surrounding the site along the road are integrated with the whole building. It adjusts the sense of scale for pedestrians through its shape and materials. The base’s triangular platform ends in a 2.1m high shuttle-like shape. Pedestrian steps are placed between this end and the retaining wall of the adjacent villa. Visitors can walk up to the art center step by step or turn into the inner community street. The base forms a small square on the side of the building facing the mountains. The seamless paving makes it difficult to distinguish between the inside and the outside of the building. This place is a spatial end for this site, drawing the gaze towards the mountain and the sky.

Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Image 22 of 30
conceptual design diagram
Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Interior Photography
© Runzi Zhu
Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Interior Photography, Kitchen, Table, Brick, Windows
© Runzi Zhu

Sixteen brick pavilions. Another challenge is how to approach the relationship between building and nature. Visitors to the foot of the mountain have already enjoyed the whole landscape, so how to create a new experience in this building?

Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Image 17 of 30
model
Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Image 24 of 30
concept diagram

The 15 brick pavilions with various functions are organized together to form a large covered brick pavilion. Between the pavilions, the experience of the surrounding landscape becomes an “encounter”. The complete landscape is divided into fragments by the pavilions and then linked together in the imagination. This technique of interrupting and disturbing the whole creates a particular method of viewing the surrounding mountains, at the same time as it sculpts a particular “interiority”. Solid brick pavilions form the character of the building, providing an interesting visual and spatial impression of the exterior.

Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Image 23 of 30
plan and axonometric
Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Interior Photography, Brick, Facade, Column, Arch
© Runzi Zhu
Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Interior Photography, Brickwork, Facade
© Runzi Zhu

Brick pavilions have different functions. It is a reading pavilion, a children’s hut, an observation gazebo, an entrance pavilion, a staircase, an elevator, a pantry and toilets. The interior space is divided by the 15 brick pavilions into three zones: the entrance and the service area, the lounge and the coffee zone, the large event space and its auxiliary space. The other spaces are arranged around the central event space. Spaces of different scales are combined – space for two or three people to interact, also larger space to congregate. The “pillar-shaped pavilion” and the space it forms are both everyday and eternal.

Aranya Art Center / Archmixing Workshop - Outdoor Photography
© Runzi Zhu