Made using sustainable materials like local wood and low-emissivity glass, the Sino-Italian Cultural Exchange City Reception Center helps link the area’s surrounding ecological forest with the architecture of China and Italy. The concept was taken from a combination of Italian style and “Ruyi,” an ancient Chinese decorative object used as a gift to foreign ambassadors to represent friendly relations between countries.

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aerial view of large white building with curved walls and green roofs

The center is located 36 kilometers from Chengdu, the historic capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan province that dates back 4,500 years. The project area will cover a total area of 17,815 square meters and a construction area of over 2,000 square meters near the natural Yanqi Wetlands.

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aerial view of large white building with curved walls and green roofs in a forest
fountain in front of curved exterior wall of building

Design elements of the building range from ancient Roman arches and domes to a pavilion inspired by a famous Italian piazza that blends into the natural environment. Multipurpose circular spaces make up the facilities for exhibition, meeting, reception and catering, while white walls help give the building a three-dimensional look in the sunlight.

ancient Roman archways in front of large white building
ancient columns in courtyard next to large white building

In addition to materials like low-E glass and local wood, the sustainable construction also features green roofs to help offset energy consumption via thermal insulation. The main exhibition hall connects to the outside through the building’s staggered height; as such, visitors can enjoy the scenery from differing heights and experience the wooded surroundings as they walk with help from two circular skylights in the entrance hall. Similarly, the interior of the building is characterized by 10 circular glass walls of varying sizes in order to bring the natural scenery of the exterior inside.

round skylight over all-white lobby in art hall
round skylight over exhibition spaces

The three outdoor, semi-circular piazzas are surrounded by Roman arches, each meant to represent typical Italian urban spaces: an entrance fountain piazza, an Italian piazza and an outdoor theater. There are two circular rooftop gardens each on the east and west sides of the property, along with a Chinese Cultural Hall that can be accessed via a white jade pavement path above the water pond.

+ AOE China

Images courtesy of Arch-exist Photography and AOE

aerial view of large white building with curved walls and green roofs near a forest at sunset