The SkyCourts Exhibition Hall in Chengdu, China is a 67,000 square-foot building designed by Boston-based Höweler + Yoon Architecture that pushes the boundaries that define courtyards and buildings. Based on traditional Chinese courtyard houses, this modern clubhouse is designed to be thermally efficient in order to conserve energy. It has been recognized as an award winning cultural project, and is believed to be one of the many contemporary buildings that will age beautifully into the future.
Höweler + Yoon Architecture is a multidisciplinary firm that believes in operating between the lines of architecture, art and landscape. The SkyCourts project exemplifies this principal by creating a volumetrically interesting building with a focus on blurring the line between the exterior courtyard and the interior architecture. This monolithic structure is made from locally produced gray brick and Corten steel. The building’s facade and roof push and pull to create a series of irregular courtyards, which introduce daylight and ventilation throughout the building. The Corten also makes the building’s cool tones pop with color.
The interiors of the building are kept cool during the summer and warm during the winter with the help of the building’s high thermal mass. Cross ventilation is introduced through operable windows along the glazed facades of the courtyards. The beauty of the building really lies in its simplicity and magnanimous views from various corners of the project. The project houses short-term housing, offices, and entertainment facilities that will help pack the building with unknowing participants in the daily art exhibit given by the structure itself.