Yizhuang Science & Technology Center
International design competition
Located in a southeastern suburb named Yizhuang, Beijing Economic & Technological Development Area (BDA) is a national top-priority Development Zone – and with 200 km² in its final stage one of the biggest in China. Pillar industries in the zone include pharmaceuticals, IT technology, mechanic/electronic products and new materials. During the last decade, BDA has developed additional capabilities for other high-growth sectors, including education and renewable energies. BDA and Yizhuang have developed as the hub of communications linking Beijing with Tianjin and the booming Bohai Development Belt.
In this context, the Science & Technology Center (STC) is dedicated to be Yizhuang’s window of development and planning: a contemporary building for the public, serving as demonstration platform for hi-tech industries and products, and as service centre for the local companies: a space for exhibition, meeting and exchange.
The building occupies the most privileged location within the public ‘International Enterprise Cultural Park’: next to a lake, in the main entrance axis and surrounded by a belt of large trees. The building’s connection with nature is utmost important; to this intent the exhibition areas are closely interconnected with their surroundings as part of a quasi-osmotic building.
The exhibition space is introversion and extension of the park at the same time: paths with flowers let the indoor space grow into the surrounding nature.
The building is aimed to be green and sustainable in order to conform to its purpose and context. The main idea consists in lifting a piece of the park and putting an exhibition space underneath. A living blanket of vegetation is created that covers a service space for the public – symbolizing the least possible intervention into nature. Yizhuang STC is planned with two objectives: one of social nature, aimed to generate activities, and one of environmental nature, being a modern interpretation-concretization of a forest as complex biotope.
Visitors who see the mysterious floating object from a distance will be attracted to it. Approaching the building, they will enter an open exhibition hall with a semi-transparent wooden skin in a flowing motion, an illusionary, ephemeral structure where functional spaces like conference rooms, offices and other services are hanging from a green roof. This green roof becomes part of the landscape of the ‘Enterprise Park’.
The distribution of functions is simple and flexible: The ground floor is reserved entirely for the exhibition space as the heart of STC. It forms a flexible open space that can easily adapt to future changing needs. Without clear boundaries, it can also easily be extended into the park. 3 different kinds of spaces – uncovered, covered, and indoor spaces – create a variety of possible exhibition arrangements.
The second floor accommodates the remaining functions that need more specific and closed spaces: conference, education, offices. They are interconnected through a big lobby with cafeteria and view connections to the exhibition space. From the accessible roof visitors may finally overlook the park while walking through a small path.
Sustainability has been a key aspect of the design: The biggest portion of the consumed electricity will come from photovoltaic panels. The undulating roofline brings fresh air into exhibition and conference spaces by the wind streaming naturally through the 3-dimensional roof volume. Lighting for the central areas will come from daylight systems. Heating and cooling will be provided through geothermal energy and heat pumps. Waste-water will be cleaned biologically and re-used to a maximum.
Finally, wooden shutters of different densities will be installed in the façade, serving as sun protection, but also creating a vibrating interior atmosphere that reminds of the plays of light and shadow in a forest.