▼承德博物馆：花格墙立面与远处的“磬锤峰”，the museum facade and the Qingchui Peak beyound ©魏刚
Chengde is most famous for “The Mountain Resort” as the Royal Palace of Qing Dynasty and “The Eight Outlying Temples” forming the temple complex, which have been listed as World Cultural Heritage. They give the city a special and grand historical scene. In designing the Chengde City Museum under such a circumstance, our first clear direction is to respect history and nature and to integrate architecture into the environment with a humble attitude.
▼建筑主入口，main entrance ©魏刚
▼融入自然的建筑，a building that emerges from the landscape ©魏刚
▼鸟瞰图，aerial view ©魏刚
The site is located in a special area surrounded by ancient buildings and scenic spots – with Puning Temple in the north and The Mountain Resort in the south, with the temples of Xumi Fushou and Putuo Zongcheng in the west and the Qingchui Peak and Anyuan Temple in the east, which is the third-level cultural relic protection area.
The construction conditions are very strict. In addition to the control of the general planning department, it is also restricted by the cultural relics protection units such as the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, Hebei Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau, and the most restrictive condition for the construction is the height of 7m.
▼场地分析，site analysis ©HHDesign
▼从场地主入口看下沉庭院，view to the sunken courtyard from the entrance ©魏刚
Under such constraints, the first step is to adapt and organize the building site. First, dig the base as a whole to form a 6m deep courtyard. At its edge, inspired by the scattered platform foundations of local ancient buildings, we design to make platforms that fell layer by layer, and use several sets of ramps and steps with different widths to connect the platforms by folding back and turning. In the process of “picking up the level”, as if it were an archaeological site, people will continue to discover and feel the changes in the courtyard space and scenery.
From the new “ground”, the building is arranged up two floors, combined with the scattered layout of the courtyard, forming a good lighting and ventilation effect, eliminating the sense of closure of conventional underground buildings. In this way, the part of the building out of the ground can be controlled within 7m, as if “hidden” in the environment.
▼下沉庭院边缘的“清水”片墙，the faced concrete wall of the sunken courtyard ©魏刚
▼下沉庭院边缘的台阶，the stairs along the sunken courtyard ©魏刚
▼“藏起来”的建筑，a “hidden” building ©魏刚
At the same time, combined with the “hidden” volume and the special and unique characteristics of the surrounding landscape, the roof is designed as a viewing platform for the city, providing people with the opportunity to see the cultural relics and heritage sites from a distance. The function of the building is magnified. It can be integrated into the environment and can express the environment at the same time; it can not only visit specific exhibits inwards and downwards, but also appreciate the lively “World Heritage” upwards and outwards. The museum is a “museum” in every sense of the word, and this is what sets it apart from other museum buildings.
▼展馆屋顶观景平台，the roof is designed as a viewing platform for the city ©魏刚
Incorporate contextual relationships with the surrounding environment into the scope of visual design. Through the arrangement and guidance of the buildings, landscape and paths, and with the help of the concept of “borrowing the scenery”, which is present in classical Chinese garden aesthetics, the landscapes such as “Qing Chuifeng” around the base are introduced into the building to form a rich visual hierarchy and spatial sequence.
▼入口檐下远望，view from the eave of the entrance ©魏刚
▼丰富的视觉层次和空间序列，a rich visual hierarchy and spatial sequence ©魏刚
The interior spaces of the building are darkened by the dark matte walls, but it does not make people feel depressed. This is because a large area of arc-shaped floor-to-ceiling windows is made in front of the entrance in conjunction with the atrium, and the bright light attracts people’s attention. Outside the window is an outdoor courtyard “hidden” in the center of the pavilion. A shallow pool of varying widths is arranged along the arc edge. The water reflects the sky, trees and buildings, creating a tranquil mood.
▼一层展厅回廊看内庭院，view to the inner courtyard from the exhibition hall ©魏刚
Chengde is close to Inner Mongolia and Liaoning Province and has rich landforms – grasslands and forests. The rulers of the Qing dynasty, who developed from the “nation on horseback”, have been riding horses and hunting in the Mulan grassland in the north of Chengde over the years. So we chose “Horseshoe” as a historical and regional element to translate into the courtyard and embellish it with two trees of “Pinus tabulaeformis” representing forests and mountain villages. The ancient meaning is leisurely expressed. Even the courtyard itself is an exhibit – showing the historical context and artistic conception of Chengde in a posture of “seeing the big in the small, the forest at hand”.
▼马蹄形内庭院，the horseshoe inner courtyard
The contour of the shallow pond is another smaller and turning “horseshoe” that protrudes along the arc of the “horseshoe”. Two “horseshoes” are intertwined in the vision and create a spatial feeling. The concept of horseshoe was also integrated to the door handle of the exhibition hall
▼双马蹄形内庭院，the double-horseshoe courtyard ©魏刚
▼展厅门把手，the door handle of the exhibition hall ©魏刚
The paving of the courtyard refers to the practice of the Mountain Resort , which is mainly composed of large square bricks, and the transitional space is supplemented by strips of stone, paved with seams or staggers, which sets the tone of the traditional style for the courtyard.
In the sinking courtyard to the left of the site’s entrance, ten holes of “Pinus tabulaeformis” also borrowed the octagonal profile common in the Mountain Resort
The courtyard as a whole continues the artistic conception of the Mountain Resort”, providing tourists and staff with a comfortable stopping space and walking experience
The sinking courtyard turns the ground-level paths into bridges, creating an interesting space effect
▼空中连桥，the airy bridge ©魏刚
The facade is staggered with “Chengde Green” stone according to the specifications of the ancient bricks, and poured strip fair-faced concrete in the brick wall as horizontal lines. Between the lines of the wall are embedded with many left and right inclined finished cement strips, which interrupt the horizontal masonry texture. These inclined lines originate from history.
▼墙面的水平线条间，嵌入了许多左右倾斜的成品水泥条，between the lines of the wall are embedded with many inclined finished cement strips ©魏刚
▼梯形窗夜间视角，view to the trapezoidal window by night ©魏刚
▼下沉庭院的坡道，the ramp in the sunken courtyard ©魏刚
Qing rulers believed in Lamaism and built many Tibetan-style temples outside the Mountain Resort. This large-scale Tibetan building complex is unique outside the Tibetan area. It can be said to be the most special form of ancient buildings in Chengde. The classic element of Tibetan architecture is the trapezoidal window. Therefore, this element was abstracted into a new design language. In addition to the use of inclined strip fair-face concrete on all masonry walls, a “trapezoid” was also directly used on some walls.）
For example, on the main facade along the west side of the site above the road, glass fiber reinforced cement (GRC) decorative panels are used to make a whole “large trapezoidal set of small trapezoidal” perforated lattice walls, which bring light into the room like the window lattice in ancient buildings.
▼下沉庭院内部，inside the sunken courtyard ©魏刚
▼藏起来的楼梯，the hidden staircase ©魏刚
▼楼梯上空，above the stairs ©魏刚
Trapezoidal elements are also used on the landscape walls of the circular square. Layers of horizontally arranged rust steel plates are irregularly interspersed with diagonal rust steel plates, making the landscape wall display a special rhythm. These elements, while inheriting history, infused the atmosphere of the times and artistic characteristics into the building.
▼圆形广场景观墙，the landscape walls of the circular square ©魏刚
▼总平面图，site plan ©HHDesign
承德博物馆 Chengde Museum