Steven Holl Architects just announced the completion of the chunky mixed-use Sliced Porosity Block in China. Designed with an emphasis on daylighting, the project consists of five uneven geometric structures separated by open spaces that allow light to filter into a lush inner courtyard. Inspired by canyons and valleys, the project is targeting LEED Gold status with a mix of energy-efficient technologies including geothermic heating and rainwater recycling.
Located in Chengdu, Holl took inspiration from historic local poet, Du Fu, who wrote of Three Valleys. With this poem in mind, Holl created three plaza levels that represent the valleys and time, each with water gardens representing the Fountain of the Chinese Calendar Year, Fountain of Twelve Months, and Fountain of Thirty Days. The plaza ponds double as skylights to a shopping mall below, intensifying and distorting the daylight as it travels through the water.
Three entrances into the three million square foot complex double as pavilions- one for history, a Local Art Pavilion, and a Light Pavilion designed by Lebbeus Woods. These openings give the public access to the interior plaza, park and pools, which cascade on varying levels in the courtyard. The pools are filled with harvested rainwater, and filled with grasses and lilypads which naturally cool the area.
Each of the complex’s facades are made up of concrete and high-performance glazing, blocking solar gain while letting ample natural light inside and to the plaza. Heating and cooling is provided by 480 geothermic wells, and energy efficient technology and appliances are featured throughout.
The LEED Gold Sliced Porosity block brings a bevy of apartments, retail spaces, restaurants, a hotel and public space to the neighborhood while keeping the block open and airy and full of natural sun light.