LYCS Architecture just began constructing a new daylit art center in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China that is every bit as beautiful as the site it sits upon. The Spruce Art Center reuses a pre-existing, one-story structure located on a lot flush with spruce trees, and transforms it from an abandoned relic into a dynamic new space that integrates both art and nature inside and out. The architects recently began construction on the building, and it will open later this year.
The design of LYCS Architecture‘s Spruce Art Center is a response to two fundamental architectural challenges: it seeks to evoke new spatial meaning while reconciling an existing structure; and to produce a new design language that is dynamic and strong yet doesn’t overtake its natural setting — in this case, the existing spruce trees. As a result, the design of the building follows the traditional architectural aesthetic of the southern region of the Yangtze. It preserves an intimate connection to water while integrating live trees into the interior and allowing them to grow through the space.
LYCS’s design features three different internal courtyards , which are hinged together. A tranquil courtyard on the northeast part of the site secludes itself from the whole and provides visitors with a space to meditate in solitude and appreciate the spruce. The central courtyard functions as an interior circulation space that connects both the open and closed courtyard. The roof is an evolution of the Chinese traditional tile pitched roof; the four vertexes of the roof curve up slightly and then descend gently towards the midpoint. This both aids in drainage and echoes the style of the surrounding buildings.