Located in Songzhuang, Beijing China, Tree art museum lies beside the main road of the area. Original village has vanished, replaced by big scale blocks which better fit for cars. Even if renowned as artist village, it’s difficult to stay or enjoy art exploration without local artist friend’s introducing. So, the first idea was to create an ambient, a public space where people would like to stay, date and communicate.
I hope people might be attracted into the museum by the view at the entrance. Their eyes would follow the curvy floorslab coming from the ground all the way up to the roof. People could choose getting into the space either through the ramp or the courtyard with a pool and tree on the first floor. Sky is reflected onto the ground, with reflecting pool together, helping people to filter their mind and forget the environment out there.
The first courtyard was separated with the main road and dust outside by a bare-concrete wall. People would stay and chat under the tree in the courtyard, or, just feed fishes by the reflecting pool. Meanwhile, they could enjoy artworks and watch other people lingering inside the building through curtain wall. In the bare-concrete wall, there is a corridor which could be utilized to exhibit books and small sculptures. The curvature varies slightly along the path.
The second courtyard introduces nature light to the back exhibition hall and meeting room on 2nd floor, while separating the public and privacy needed. The curvy wall implies people to the other side of the building, and introduces them to come to the public stairs-plaza on the roof, where people could enjoy sunshine and have a break, or look down to the pool.
There are six and half courtyards on 2,695 square meters site. Besides the two bigger ones for exhibition, there are four more courtyards lying on the upper part. Two yards apply sunlight to the back space and introduce skylight to the exhibition hall below. The other two yards are on the top of the floor, which also open to sky.
By taking real and pure expression, this project hopes to create a place where local people and visitors would communicate with nature light, trees, water, and contemporary art. This simple and plain idea will spread out through their experience.
Project title: Tree Art Museum
Location: Song zhuang, Beijing, China
Height: 18.78 meter
No. of floors: Exhibtion part: 2 stories , Function part: 5 stories
Building Area: 3,200 square meters
Site area: 2,695 square meters
Client: Chinese Contemporary Art Development Foundation
Design Architect: Daipu Architects
Director : Dai pu
Design Team: Dai pu, Feng jing, Liu yi
Structural Engineer: Huang shuangxi.
Water Engineer: Lei ming
Mechanical Engineer: Wang Gepeng
Electrical Engineer: Wang xiang
Construction: 2010.11 – 2012.09
Photo © SHUHe
Conversation between WANG Tiantian and DAI Pu
王田田 建筑师 中国美术学院建筑艺术学院在读研究生
戴 璞 建筑师 大章建筑创始人
Wang tiantian architect
Dais architect, founder of Daipu architects
W：Why do you insist a small team?
D: Not really. For architects, what‘s most important is to put your ideas into drawings and finally realize it. No matter you work all by yourself or work with your team when you are unable to solve it, in fact, there is no difference, for what you do is just to realize it.
W：A typical mode of bigger studio,. Would you take a approach that is to follow that kind of mode, I mean, expand your studio?
D: That is a must. Because if you want to accomplish your work better, you need to have a strong team. But I don’t think there is a mode, no matter Wang Shu, or FCJZ, or aiweiwei’s studio, in which every member has his own play. I would never think it’s a good idea to follow some certain mode. But their braveness and courageous divine nature of architects is a common characteristic.
W：What is the reason of your curvy shape?
D: Before we start our design, the north and south of our site had already been built. So I prefer solving light problem with courtyards. If we make courtyard a square shape, the shadow will be like a knife cutting into the space, so I use a curve, you won’t notice the straight dividing line between light and dark shadows, and natural light will diffuse evenly all over the space. Meanwhile, people would be led by rising curves to the second floor and top of the roof, unconsciously.
W：In this house, which do you most concern about?
D: When I first went to the site-Songzhuang, a strong sense of depression came to me. Songzhuang is very famous, and is one of the most avant-garde art village in China. But when you got there, you would find new houses with all kinds of bricks like regular bricks, fake bricks, black bricks, grey bricks and tiles. They are all there. There is no public space, and no place to accommodate you in winter unless you have some local friends. So I was thinking how to make local people enjoy the quality of space and people would love to come and stay by architectural means. So we need some change and accomplishment in this building. For that, I have been visiting the construction site for over 100 to 200 times during last three years.
W：Did you choose the white color of the façade on your first visit?
D: The earliest idea did not consider white color, but bare concrete and silver metal panels.
For in that case, it would conceal rain-drainge pipes and rain stains inside. But for cost sake, we turn to white paiting. White color can cover up some unnecessary rough details, and also conducive to maintenance. The outcome is still pleasing. Because, here the perfection does not depend on skin materials but space.
W：Concerning about space, which part do you most want to achieve?
D: I hope people can enjoy a flowing, free atmosphere. From the ground, the second floor to the roof it can reach some kind of free flow, and this is not only flowing in plans, but flowing in whole space with 6 yards. Two large front yards are open to the public, and in the behind, four small yards serve as guest room and air courtyard. I have been there many times and lots of people passing by will be attracted in.
W：I know workers in Songzhuang are not that professional. With a high perfection demand, it is really difficult there. Next time will you continue to pursue that?
D: Yes, a high degree of perfection. For it is not only presented to users, but would also affect social environment and producers-system, and promotes industrial upgrading. For example, after it is finished, a lot of people came and asked about the manufacturer of glass curtain wall. So it is also a very good opportunity for them as branding. As you can see, our society has spent large amounts of resources, labor and money to shape our city, but the result is far from satisfactory. On the contrary, these young entrepreneurs and owners who don’t have much rights or resources have to struggle and strive to make our world better. This is exactly what we need.
W：You have fully involved in this project in the past three years. Wouldyour next project need such a long span?
D: In fact, it takes us only three months to design and accomplish construction drawings. At that time, I was extremely excited and thought everything is possible just like you step on the moon surface. Thus we are working fast in this project. But it is still a small project here in China and some disadvantages in contractor’s construction management, etc. So it took nearly one and half year to finish it.
W：What technological problems do you most want to solve?
D: Beamless floor slab. Because there is no need to invest too much money to do re-decoration. At the same time, in such a space without beams, it is very pure and suitable for art exhibition.