Shui Cultural Center

  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©
  • ©

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Award

Region

China

Local Authority Area

Not in UK/ROI

Information about this scheme

The Cultural Center is a gateway to Sandu County, the land of the Shui, one of the ethnic minority groups in China. Despite being few in number, the Shui people have still retained their own language, together with their unique system of pictograms. The whole project references their traditions and long history and the architects aim was to translate Shui’s ancient rituals into the design, starting with a deep analysis of Shui symbols and of their unique pictograms. These have been transposed into the building subtly and revealed throughout in a contemporary way. The project combines all the functions of a tourist-cultural center; aiming to emerge visitors into Shui’s ancestral world, while at the same time providing flexible space for events and exhibitions. Shui means water and the site was created by a bend in the river and is surrounded by water on three sides. From conversing with the elders in the Shui community, the architects found out that every village has at least one bronze drum, used during weddings, funerals and festivals. After studying the importance of this element, a cast bronze drum has been placed on top of the Yulong tower and inspired the architects to use perforated bronze steel plates to cover the building. The pattern makes the plates lighter - a thin skin which creates a contrast with the heavy concrete structure - breaking the sunlight to create a dramatic effect once inside. Every layer of this project tells the story of Shui nationality with the involvement of local people being crucial from the beginning. Architects met with the Shui community representative regularly and the community were involved on many levels, with local researchers providing precious materials for the architects’ reference. Song Shuixian, a local artisan, introduced the architects to the ancient art of ‘horse tail’ embroidery fabrics, which take years to be completed and are part of the traditional wedding trousseau. The characteristic patterns inspired the architects to design how the light infiltrates the first hall, creating a colourful atmosphere. Many local workers were involved in the construction process, contributing with their skills in traditional woodworking and were essential in crafting the mould using local pine wood. The benefits for the community are manifold, local people can see, for the very first time, their culture represented and celebrated in a regional landmark, which establishes a sharing system for Shui, Han and other nationalities, in the respect of traditional ethnic conventions. Furthermore, the economic benefits brought by the building is affecting the development of the local economy.

Credits

Architect

West-line Studio

Architect

West-line Studio

Architect

West-line Studio

Architect

West-line Studio

Interior Designer

West-line Studio

Interior Designer

West-line Studio

Landscape Architect

West-line Studio

Structural Engineer

West-line Studio

Applicant

west-line Studio

Client

Sanhe Subdistrict Office

Owner

Sanhe Subdistrict Office

Project Manager

Kaiming Li

Main Contractor

Guizhou Chenhui Sanhe Construction CO.Ltd

Consultant

Sandu Institute of Shui

Primary Use Class

Class D1g - Public Hall or Exhibition Centre