Different geographical conditions create diverse lifestyles of human beings.—— Once Upon A Bite
The initial impression of Chongming was a small island near Shanghai. It’s well-known for the superior rice, but I had never tasted it. Thanks to this Rice Cultural Center Project Phase II, I had the chance to have deep connection with this land and its culture.
天然优势 | Natural advantages
Xincun Village is situated at the north end of Chongming Island, near Nantong. Due to the remote location and the special sandy soil with a good permeability and weakly alkaline, the land here is suitable for the growth of high-quality rice. Thanks to the great gift of nature, this land brings a good fortune to the people. The extensive paddy fields here become a fascinating natural landscape, delivering a safe and well-being signal to the locals. Rice becomes the connection between the eating behavior and the human culture.
▼水稻和大米，paddy field and rice
For making use of the rice culture as a platform for reflecting the local characteristics, the Xincun Government built the Phase I of Rice Cultural Center as exploration and experiment. The processing and production of rice can be simply visible, while the diffusion of rice culture has a profound meaning and an immense value. The renovation of Granary No. 2 for a Rice Cultural Center (Phase II), connecting the two phases, will give impetus to its cultural promotion.
The attractiveness of natural scenery, the pleasantness of ecology and the charm of humanities converge here and become the backdrop of this project given by nature. All the design processes were inspired by these.
▼崇明稻米文化中心二期，Chongming Rice Culture Center Phase II
The first trip to Chongming was in January. The greenery and cleanliness of the whole island were amazing. Because this project lasted for nearly one year, the continual changes：the verdant green of spring, the emerald green of summer, the dark green of autumn and the fade green of winter, became the experience of the four seasons.
▼四月水杉，landscape in April
设计难点 | Design challenges
It took quite a long time for the overall evaluation and survey of the building. Thanks to Haicheng Civil Engineering Road Construction for their active cooperation and guidance.
At the beginning, the site of the granary was very “industrialized”, because it became a temporary warehouse for an equipment factory. The external square and internal spaces were full of machines and cranes. These buildings were severely damaged and the floor was uneven, which was very difficult for the refurbishment.
Firstly, the granary building was suffering structural damage due to the long history. Secondly, the lack of maintenance had led to numerous cracks on many pillars and foundations.
▼建筑原貌，original site photo
场地规划 | Site Planning
There were five old buildings on the site. Among them, a small two-story building near the entrance had been in disrepair for a long time, so the structure could not be reused. Therefore, we decided to reconstruct a new office building with steel frames instead. The new two-story building serves as a Tourist Service Center and offices.
▼建筑规划图，Architecture and urban design
▼建筑体功能示意，Functional diagram of the buildings
Considering the relationship between the two phases of the Rice Cultural Center, we hope many villagers will meet and interact with each other, so when we designed the entrance, which extends to the inside area. The area between the Food Experience Center and the Visitor Center turned into a public square, and the entrance can be found in the middle of the right corridor.
This way of organization not only took into account the flow of tourists and the distribution needs during the operation, but also integrated the Rice Culture Center Phase II more into the daily life of the people in Xincun village.
▼主建筑群，main building volumes
建筑设计元素 | Architectural design elements
In a space refurbishment, historical symbols are the memory of the space in different times, and are often the most direct source of emotions and inspirations.
During the feasibility study, we found an upper ventilation window and a lower grain delivery port in Granary No. 1, which is an old granary but still in use. The round delivery port is the element which has the closest relationship with “rice”, and it’s the most outstanding feature of the granary. This became our deepest impression at the time.
Preservation and inheritance were the main principle lines when we designed these buildings, maintaining the functional elements of the buildings and retaining the “rice”-related details.
▼建筑外立面和输送粮食口，facade detail and the round delivery port
室内功能 | Interior functions
Which functions should the interior spaces carry? This should be taken into consideration firstly when the preliminary interior design starts, besides， this is the key point on which we discussed many times with the local village administrators, for getting more deeply into the operation and tourists’ experiences.
The final idea came out. That is, if the tourists from Shanghai and its surrounding area would be interested in the exploration of the rice culture, we suppose it should be profound and fun experiences.
You can walk down the paddy fields to observe the rice, even taste superior rice, and what’s more, you can participate in making special rice food and other local culinary. Through a series of scene experiences from the Tourist Service Center to the Gastronomy Experience Area until the Group Dining Area, the functional interior spaces that integrate the perception, interactive activities and the 360-degree humanistic experience, are all linked by the storyline of “rice culture”.
▼主建筑外观，main building exterior view
Building No.1 · Filling grains
The brand party will uniformly fill and screen the farmers’ grain after purchasing, in order to better display it on the market. The overall facade and space are mainly simple. The shape of the facade retains its original architectural characteristics. Large vehicles are added at the entrance which allows transporting goods in and out.
Building No.2 · Cuisine Experience Center
▼美食体验中心轴测，Cuisine Experience Center – axon
This building itself is located the closest to the intersection which reminds me of the grain shop that bought and sold grain in childhood, a steelyard, a pile of grains, a bit of memory. This space is positioned in the form and facade of a grain shop, including a rice shop along with rice production and experience as well as a comprehensive light dining space.
▼美食体验中心鸟瞰，Cuisine Experience Center aerial view
▼美食体验中心外观，Cuisine Experience Center exterior view
▼美食体验中心内部空间，Cuisine Experience Center interior view
Building No.3 · Tourist Service Center & Office
▼后方沿河视角，view to the rear facade from the river
Building No.4 · Group dining area
▼团餐区域轴测图，Group dining area – axon
It is not only a group dining area for tourists but also can become a place where villagers accommodate guests. From the perspective of space and atmosphere, the emphasis lays on the cleanliness and hygiene, removing all tedious decorations but retaining the most essential necessity and focusing on the food.
▼团餐体验区，Group dining experience
The sense of depth of the space, the white partitioned walls and the sense of rhythm together create a sense of ceremony in the group dining area, which is dynamic and interesting. There is a certain distance between the white wall and the original red brick wall, which is a dialogue and respect. The relationship between the present and the history, the granary and the dining hall is established.
▼室内细节，interior detailed view
Building No.5 · temporary pavilion & spare space
Building No.6 · Public hygiene
The newly built public restroom area, connected to buildings No.3, 4 and 5 with corridors.
▼公共卫生区域，Public hygiene area
连接长廊 | Liking corridors
▼连廊平面图，Linking corridors floor plan
From scenario to landscape to architecture, we connect Buildings 3, 4, 5, and 6 through corridors, which can not only strengthen the connectivity between the buildings, but also make the entire square and indoor space a better convergence dialogue. When people walk through the corridor with plenty of light they are able to feel the charm of the original granary building.
▼连廊及景观实景，Corridors and real landscape
景观广场 | Landscaped Courtyard
With “rice” as the main element, through abstract painting and deconstruction, as well as the splicing of various ground materials, from the top, you can still feel the power and release of “rice”.
▼广场鸟瞰，courtyard aerial view
The front yard of the square and the backyard of the building No. 4 for group dining underline the symbolic label of “Rice Center” through the planting of rice and wheat fields.
▼从连廊望向广场，view from the corridor
▼广场上种植着景观麦子，the planting of rice
Project site：Chongming District Xincun Village
Project time: January 2019-October 2019
主要材质：树脂瓦 木纹铝格栅 灰色铝板 建筑外墙肌理漆 青石砖 仿旧红砖 木纹地砖 木丝吸音板 超白玻
Main material: resin tile, wood grain aluminum grille, gray aluminum plate, exterior texture paint, bluestone brick, vintage red brick, wood effect floor tile, wood wool acoustic panels, super clear glass
Design Director: Li Chengmo
Architectural design: Yan Mingjia
Project Manager: Luo Haoji
深化设计：高域 王希 韩哲
Design development: Gao Yu, Wang Xi, Han Zhe