In the outskirts of Jiaxing, China, a nature reserve has been transformed into a multipurpose recreational zone known as Ginkgo Swan Lake. Named after the inclusion of a ginkgo forest and a human-made lake, the family-friendly park features a small train track that loops around the grounds. Hangzhou-based architecture firm Hexia Architects recently completed Ginkgo Swan Lake’s second train station, which comprises a pair of eco-friendly timber buildings designed to highlight the outdoor landscape.

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timber-framed building with sloped roof

Located in the Xiusui New District of Jiaxing in an area rich in both ecological resources and traditional culture, Ginkgo Swan Lake was created to celebrate a harmonious coexistence of ecology, nature and art. The park comprises a gridded ginkgo forest, a train track that loops around the lake, an art museum, an ecological bird island and a water village. Hexia Architects, which has been involved with multiple aspects of the park project, recently completed the second train station that serves as a multifunctional space for visitors of all ages.

Related: Tiered timber tea house embraces a Chinese ginkgo forest

timber product displays inside a timber and glass structure
wall of cubbies inside timber building with glass walls

The train station consists of two timber-and-glass buildings. To the south of the train tracks is the building with a reception and information desk that is flanked by amphitheater-like seating on either side and the main bathroom facilities behind it. The second floor includes child-friendly spaces including sunken ball pits, a small library and cloud-like seating. The building on the other side of the train tracks features a more flexible layout for pop-up stores, exhibitions and other gatherings. A pair of curved white staircases — dubbed the “White Towers” — lead up to two loft spaces for overlooking the double-height hall.

white, bubble-like seats inside timber-lined building
stepped timber seating inside timber-framed building

Instead of steel or concrete, the architects opted to build the train station buildings with timber to reduce the carbon emissions of the project. All the technical equipment, such as the HVAC, are skillfully hidden to keep the focus on the exposed wooden structures. The architects explained, “We made two large space with wood structure to break a common misunderstanding in China that a wooden building is either an ancient building or a small building.”

+ Hexia Architects

Photography by Gushang Culture via Hexia Architects