overall view of the project ©刘松恺
In the center of Shenzhen, the skyscrapers stage a dazzling light show every night, showing the magnificent city scene. However, behind these skyscrapers, there are thousands of natural villages surrounded by cities, also known as urban villages. Villagers spontaneously build tall buildings on their own land, which are not subject to planning constraints and forming a dark and crowded group of “handshake buildings”.
There is such a dark passage between the metropolis and the urban village “Yutian Community”. It is the main way for everyone who lives in Yutian Community to go to work and return home. Because of the long-term construction, it becomes a narrow and dark claustrophobic tunnel that people dare not enter.
Architectural office ATELIER XI was invited to transform this 20-square-meter alleyway into the entrance of the Yutian community, the main site of the 2019 NNN Urban Design Festival, with a limited construction budget of 50,000 CNY (about 7,000 USDollars).
To the surprise of the architect, when they first walked into this dark passage, the city suddenly became quiet, as if forming a transitional tunnel, connecting a noisy urban main street to a quiet village.
original view of the site ©一树建筑
The architect therefore proposed to transform this narrow slit into an infinitely broad starry sky: the ceiling uses thousands of fiber optic lights to construct the “starry sky”, and the side walls are made of stainless steel mirror plates to create an infinite reflection effect, allowing residents who pass through the passage feeling relaxed and welcome. It is hoped that this “starry sky” space will form a buffer zone between the city and the village, between noise and tranquility. The proposal also hopes to give the residents of the village a sense of ritual and artistry of “going home” everyday.
broad starry sky ©黄家杰
The team put together the pattern of the starry sky in the northern hemisphere and the maps of more than 1,000 urban villages in Shenzhen, and combined with the density suggested by the lighting designer, they made about 3,000 star points with 1mm fiber optic cable and inserted on the ceiling board and under the ground.
design concept ©一树建筑
On the ceiling, in order to create a twinkling starry sky effect, the designer compared many different fiber optic machines, and selected the slower speed and darker brightness simulation in the on-site test.
The bigger challenge is how to bury the optical fiber in the concrete floor, because the construction workers had never worked with this process. Finally, metal meshes were used as an auxiliary tool to complete the positioning of thousands of optical fibers.
details of the installation ©一树建筑
设计星空的那段时间里，听到一首Arvo Part的乐曲，点点琴声如星空里钟鸣静默。后来发现曲名是“Spiegel im Spiegel”——“镜中镜”，与这个装置设计的想法有某种奇妙的巧合。于是装置落成之后，设计师便把这段音乐播放在“星空”里，让点点星空与滴滴琴声形成某种共鸣。
During the design process, the architect heard an Arvo Part Song, and the sound of the piano was like the twinkling lights in the starry sky. Later they discovered that the title of the song was “Spiegel im Spiegel” (“Mirror in Mirror”), and there was wonderful coincidence with the idea of this installation. So after the installation was open to public, the architect add a music player to play this piece of music in “Starry Alley” and wish the fiber-optic starry sky and the Arvo Part music can complement each other.
starry sky creates unique experience ©一树建筑
starry sky above head ©上：黄家杰，下：一树建筑
starry sky on the ground ©一树建筑
installation during day time ©刘松恺
PROJECT NAME: Fiber Optic Starry Alley in the Urban Village
ARCHITECT: ATELIER XI
AREA: 20 sqm
LOCATION: Yutian Village, Shenzhen, China
MATERIAL: 5000 fiber optic cables (24,000 meters long in total)
DESIGN TEAM: Chen Xi, Han Xiao, Li Keyi, Wu Zhijian(Noah), Huang Xiaohong, Wang Weiguo, Xu Lvbao, Zhu Zhu
CONTRACTOR: Zou Jie, He Xiaozhong
LIGHTING CONSULTANT: Wei Wei (Lighting Formula)
LANDSCAPE CONSULTANT: Zhang Wenshan, Meng Yujing