Place and history
▼建筑外观，external view of the building
The project began with an abandoned Hoffman brick kiln. The site of the kiln was located between Hengshui wetland park and the city proper of Hengshui. It was formerly a place where factories nearby used to drain their sewage water onto. As the only building on wetland, the brick kiln was highly recognizable with its chimney. However the Hoffman kiln was gradually abandoned due to the national policy that banned the burning of bricks out of clay as an environmental protection measure. The building condition declined to a collapsing condition eventually. With the new governmental plan to convert the wetland into a botanic park, the project called for the design of a botanic art center on the site. We decided that the memory and history of the old kiln has to be recalled and remembered with the new architecture. We hope to connect the past and the present of the place with the project.
▼远景，与湿地环境相协调，distance view, being harmony with the environrment
The new botanic art center is mainly a gallery showcasing plants, potteries and floral art. The new architecture is therefore a public facility that contrasts with the old kiln which was a introversive building purely for industrial production. With the intention to connect to the spatial history of the place, the new botanic art center has a massing and spatial composition that references to the old kiln but programmed with contemporary functions and experience. In doing so, the past and the future of the site are conceptually connected. The observation tower preserves the symbol and memory of the former chimney and the accessibility of the tower allows people to “climb up the chimney”.
▼景观塔保留烟囱的符号性，成为具体的记忆点，the observation tower preserves the symbol and memory of the former chimney
Transformation from introversion to publicness
While the old kiln was an industrial building with no public access, the new botanic art center opens to the public as an cultural and exhibition architecture. The spatial composition of the botanic art center conceptually refers to the old Hoffman kiln with a looped and vaulted space surrounds a central courtyard.
▼项目平面（左）参考霍夫曼窑（右）的布局，plan refers to the traditional Hoffman kiln (right)
Along the vaulted arcade, several courtyards are proposed and breaks the spatial continuity of the space, creating a blurred boundary between landscape and architecture, between interior and exterior, while also connects the inner central courtyard with the bigger environment. The roof garden of the podium also opens up the building and created unique viewing experience outwards. Courtyards are also proposed in between restaurants and kitchen at the northen and southern end of the building and allows better natural light into the dinning space.
▼入口，前方设有一片开阔的空地，entrance with an open public space
▼端部院落，courtyard at one side of the project
Vaulted arcade as exhibition space
As opposed to a continous vault in a Hoffman kiln, the arcarde of the botanic art center is composed of a series of vaults which shows a visual and experiential progression of spaces in relation with light. The sequential setting of vaults defines seprate but interconnected galleries that house exhibition and records the relationship between space, light and shadow.
▼具有序列性的拱廊形成连续的展览空间，sequential vaults create continuous exhibition space
From chimney to tower
Every traditional kiln has a chimney and many people has the idea to climb on it. The proposition of an observation tower is reminiscent of the chimney and allows people to access the “chimney” with its four viewing platforms at different alttitudes, which offers different views and experiences of the botanic park.
▼景观塔，不同高度提供不同的景观体验，observation tower provides different views on different levels
Materiality, light and shadow
Bricks were used as the main materials throughout the architecture and become a medium to recall the lost materiality and texture of the place.
▼红色的页岩砖回应场地历史，red bricks respond to the history of the site
Various kind of stacking patterns of bricks area used on the facade in order to generate translucency, which breaks the solidity and heaviness of brick wall, allows different light and shadow effects and promote the sense of publicness. For instance, facade of the interior courtyards are made more translucent in order to imply the publicness of the space. The observation tower are cladded with bricks stacked more porously to allow more light into the the tower and weaken the heaviness of the tower.
▼镂空的墙面使空间更为通透，hollowed walls generate more translucency to the space
▼景观塔的镂空增强采光，hollowed brick walls provided better lighting to the observation tower
▼砖墙细部，details of the brick walls
While the design of the Tower of Bricks has a reference to a traditional kiln, the new architecture holds a contemporary position in terms of the idea of publicness, connectivity to the environment and user experience. It emotionally extends local people’s memory of the existence of a kiln. It is an architecture that connects history with future.
▼一层平面图，first floor plan
▼二层平面图，second floor plan
▼墙身细部图，details of the wall
项目名称：Tower of Bricks 湿地中的红砖之塔
Project name: Tower of Bricks
Project location: Hengshui Botanic Park, Hebei Province, CHINA
Project year: 2016-2018
Size: 2065 sqm.
Structure: Reinforced concrete
Architects: Interval Architects
Principal-in-charge: Oscar KO, Yunduan GU
Team：Oscar KO, Yunduan GU, Zexing YUE, Xianmei HU, Jing CHEN, Jin HUANG
Client: Hengshui Botanic Park
Associate design institutes: Orient Liho, Beijing New Era Architectural Design Ltd.
Photography: Zhi Geng