An “Unpopular” Architecture
The project, located in Baoshan District of Shanghai, faces Gaoying Road in the west and is opposite to the Wanda Plaza. It is surrounded in the north and the east by high-rise residential communities. To the south, there lies a heaped-up hill, which was originally a yard for the storage of construction waste, and later turned into a shooting site of the Shanghai Political College of the Armed Police. The project is planned to be a community-level cultural activity center, comprising an exhibition hall, theater, reading room, rooms for community activities, gym, and education and training rooms.
overall view of the project ©胡义杰
The biggest influencing factor of this project is the residential community to the northeast of the site. Although this site has always been planned as a community public supporting land, it has been laid idle for years, where grasses and plants grow thickly and are integrated with the municipal green belt and hill in the south, to become a veritable urban green lung. Because of the poor accessibility to urban roads, the community residents have taken it as their exclusive park. If a new architecture is constructed here, it will surely attract the attention and confusion of the residents. If the design is done with any carelessness, it will lead to contradictions and conflicts. So to speak, any new construction here is most likely to be unpopular with the residents.
distanced area view, the building and its surroundings ©胡义杰
top view ©胡义杰
An “Evolutionary Design” Tailored to Local Conditions
If the floor area and volume are calculated according to the plot ratio of the planning conditions, the new architecture must be a 7-story high-rise to reach the upper limit of the index. After rounds of studies and argumentation with the proprietor and the planning department, we finally decided not to take the upper limit of the plot ratio as the construction goal, but adjusted measures to the local conditions, to achieve a balance between a reasonable building volume and perfect use functions.
To minimize the sense of pressure of the building volume on the residential areas and ensure the permeability of the space, we first classified and divided the functional blocks into three smaller ones, which are respectively the education and training hall, culture and art hall, and sports and fitness hall. We also hope to further weaken the architectural form and cut the three blocks into mountain-shaped ones with a big bottom and small top, to make sure that community residents can still see the mountain landscape in the south through the “valleys” between the mountain-shaped ones. The mountain-shaped architectures are thus abstracted into ramps, terraces and roof gardens. We hope to wrap the whole architectural complex with greening and gardens, so as to form diversified levels of greenery landscape and leisure space, turn the entire building complex into a vertical green park, and integrate it with the urban green belt and the hill to the south.
external view of the project composed of three volumes ©胡义杰
Under such a step-by-step “evolutionary design”, there eventually forms an architectural complex that looks like mountains from the distance, and gardens when overlooked, echoing the southern hill, and reducing the physical and psychological impacts on the residential communities to the minimum extent. Its form comes from the restraints of the environment and inhabitants, and is a positive feedback and evolution.
building corresponded with the mountain body ©胡义杰
Function Settings for Sustainable Operations
A cultural activity center of about 20,000 square meters is bound to demand high later stage operating costs, especially with the arrival of the post-epidemic era. Reasonable functional configuration will make it go on with normal and sustainable operations. The first building on the west side is a multi-functional activity hall, whose five-floor spaces are all activity classrooms. In the future, some social institutions will be introduced for joint operation and management to provide services to the citizens in a more efficient and professional way. The terrace design allows each floor of the space to have places for outdoor activities and communications. The floors are connected with outdoor stairs, which are used as a channel for evacuation, and a corridor for people to take a walk. The second building in the middle is the culture and art hall. As the most important main building, it will be completely free to the public. On the first floor is the lobby reception and the entrance front hall of the theater. The stage, side stage and dressing rooms of the theater are set on the ground floor. A shared atrium is set up for the second to fifth floors, where the reading room and activity rooms spread around the atrium, sharing the sunlight from the roof. People can rest and communicate on the big steps in the atrium. The third building on the east side is the sports gym. Considering the flexibility and inclusiveness of the indoor space in the future, large space of big span and height is reserved in each floor, in addition to the necessary auxiliary spaces, such as elevators and toilets, bringing high possibilities to various sports activities.
the culture and art hall and the multi-functional activity hall on the west side ©胡义杰
entrance plaza ©胡义杰
outdoor staircase connecting the terraces ©胡义杰
entrance gate made of weathered steel plates ©胡义杰
street view of the sports gym ©胡义杰
staircase connecting the street and the platform on the second floor ©胡义杰
second floor platform connecting the sports gym and the culture and art hall ©胡义杰
shared atrium in the culture and art hall ©胡义杰
bright and continuous space ©胡义杰
view to the activity space from the entrance ©胡义杰
look up at the skylight ©胡义杰
Slow Construction under Cost Control
The special form of the buildings and the increased external surface areas after the disassembly inevitably lead to a substantial increase in the construction cost. To save the cost, priority is given to the economy of the building facade materials. The gable walls and roof frames of the three buildings mainly take solid walls, with large areas. We adopt the white texture coating with broken joint design to form a bulk effect. The inner sides of the gable walls and frames use rusty red texture coating, which won’t look too showy, and will form a yin-yangcontrast with the white, to enrich the facade colors. The northern and southern facades are the main lighting and ventilation sides. So we use the window-wall system. On the basis of effectively controlling the glass use areas, we manage to meet the window-floor ratio coefficient. To meet changes of local shapes and details, we apply the white perforated aluminum plates. The entrance gate head is a key part of the facade. We choose the red weather-resistant steel plates, as an ornament. The construction of the whole project is extremely slow, because of lack of funds. It takes three and a half years to complete the whole project.
facade of the culture and art hall ©胡义杰
details of the facade materials ©胡义杰
“Compatible and Unique” Customized Architecture
The complexity and diversity of the city and environment make it impossible for each building to exist in the same site or completely independent of the site. When a building is placed in a site, there will inevitably be factors, such as policies, regulations, society, citizens, the environment, and functions, which put forward a variety of restrictions and requirements, and even conflicts. What architects have to do is not to ignore the conflict, but to get nutrients and inspiration from the conflict. They need to integrate multiple ideas, incorporate multiple functions, absorb and merge various concepts, and make “tailor-made” designs for specific environments, people and needs, and ultimately create “compatible and unique” buildings.
night view ©胡义杰
site plan ©水石设计
first floor plan ©水石设计
second floor plan ©水石设计
third floor plan ©水石设计
roof plan ©水石设计
建筑成员：李斌 程晓燕 丁锋 王培 朱泉林 郑鸣鹤
结构成员：朱华军 杜侠伟 申慧斌 陈伟|
Project name: Shanghai Zhangmiao Cultural Activity Center
Project address: No. 590 Tonghe Road, Baoshan District, Shanghai, China
Development organization: Zhangmiao Sub-district Office, Baoshan District People’s Government, Shanghai, China
Construction agent unit: Shanghai Qianli Construction Consulting Co., Ltd.
Land area: 12,313 m2
Floor area: 19,376 m2
Design time: 2015-2017
Completion time: 2021
Design unit: SHUISHI
Work content: Multi-disciplinary integrated design
Design directors: Ni Liang, Wei Minfei
Architectural design: SHUISHI-Micron Architecture Office
Chief architect: Xu Jinwei
Team members: Zhang Shuai, Fang Yanrong, Xie Qingle, Zhao Lifeng, Yang Ku, Wen Huaguang, Hu Zhichao, Wu Jiedong, Zhang Chao, Li Yu, Jia Gai, Yang Kaiyue, Zhao Zhenjie, Xu Haidong
Construction drawing design: SHUISHI Engineering, SHUISHI Technology R&D Center
Head of construction drawing: Li Bin
Building members: Li Bin, Cheng Xiaoyan, Ding Feng, Wang Pei, Zhu Quanlin, Zheng Minghe
Structure members: Zhu Huajun, Du Xiawei, Shen Huibin, Chen Wei
Water supply and drainage members: Yu Gang, Hu Wei, Wang Dong
Electrical engineering members: Zheng Yao, Xu Mengxi, Li Yanshuo
Heating and ventilation members: Yin Jin, Cui Jun, Sun Haixiao
Curtain wall members: Liu Lili, Ma Jianbo
BIM design members: Jin Ge, Xu Lei
Interior design:SHUISHI-Micron Architecture Office
Interior cooperative design unit: Shanghai Urban and Rural Architectural Design Institute Co., Ltd.
Landscape design:SHUISHI-Micron Architecture Office
Landscape cooperative design unit: Shanghai Baolv Public Parks Afforestation Co., Ltd.
Lighting design and construction unit: Jiangsu Disheng Construction Group Co., Ltd.
General construction contract unit: SCG No.2 Construction Group Co., Ltd.
Project photography: Hu Yijie