Álvaro Siza’s first major project in China, the Shihlien Chemical Industrial Jiangsu Co, has recently been completed in China’s Jiangsu province. While we wouldn't normally promote a chemical plant, The Building on the Water boasts the poetic beauty and dynamic forms that are so typical of Siza’s work that we love so much. Situated on an island in the middle of an artificial lake, the floating plant follows a gentle 300-meter curve and boasts a few noteworthy green credentials.
In 2009 Siza was commissioned to design The Building on the Water as an office building for the company’s soda ash and ammonium chloride production plant in Huai’An City. A total of 11,000 square meters (118.403 square feet) is distributed on two floors connected with bridges. It follows a 300-meter long curve and combines flowing forms with orthogonal volumes. While boasting dynamic spatial relationships, the building appears to be in harmony with its surroundings-viewed from the mainland, it conveys a sense of quiet beauty which can rarely be found in industrial buildings.
The structure blends with the waterscape and features green roofs on some of its sections. Long ribbon windows allow daylight to penetrate the minimalist interiors and create an almost ethereal quality. The building is scheduled to open on 30 August, 2014, and may well go down in history as the most beautiful chemical plant on Earth.