aoe’s new Sino-Italian Cultural Exchange Hall in Chengdu, China, has been built in a bamboo forest to the east of the existing Sino-Italian Cultural Exchange Center. It combined Daoist ideas of natural harmony and European design aesthetic.

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A building hidden in a forest lit up with lights at night

It contains restaurants, meeting halls, piano pavilions and tea rooms, and fronts on a peaceful pond. The pond now features artificial lily pads for jumping across like a bridge. The design seamlessly blends from land to water, echoing the rounded shapes of lily pads from the building’s outdoor terrace pillars that have rounded cutouts at their tops. 

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Open pavilion with arches that blend with the bamboo planted there

“The architectural form adopts a traditional wooden frame to carry out a modern translation and uses circular geometric elements,” aoe said. “The continuous cross-shaped arch column extends from the interior to the exterior, and a transparent glass curtain wall eliminates the boundary, naturally drawing the outdoor scenery into the interior.”

A dining hall with wide open windows leading out to a river

The designers continue: “The outdoor continuous circular hollow corridor frame creates a varied and quiet light and shadow experience. The courtyard wall extends from the cultural corridor, passing through the bamboo forests, connecting the houses in series, resembling the freehand brushwork and relaxation of Chinese calligraphy. The opposite view window hole on the courtyard wall is shaped like a drop of water, symbolic of nature.”

A wooden building sits merged with the green scenery that surrounds it

Because Daoism seeks to balance man and nature, the Daoist design of this building also reflects the belief that exterior scenery is an integral part of the design. Using light, sound, wind and scent, the new cultural hall aims to bring harmony to cultural relations in the same way it seeks to make its own design harmonious with the landscape.

+ aoe

Images via aoe