Atelier DYJG: The client gave the following requirements: 1) the site should be a venue for festival events, performances and serve as a daily recreational and attractive place for the public. 2) Through the construction of the plaza, the area has a good link with the surrounding mountains, rivers and bridges, and promotes the construction of new urban areas locating in the southern part of the city. 3) Providing some service facilities.
The site is located in the southern edge of the city and served as a starting point and an engine in the new development area. In the north of the site, there is all hill of 70m high, and city roads surround the place in the other directions. According to the new area planning, residential areas will be in the west and south and a park will be in the east by the river. The area of the site is 11 hectares, and a new museum and a new plaza will be built here. The museum, named after a local paleographer who found Chinese most ancient character – oracle bone inscriptions, will exhibit the inscription tortoise shells discovered and collected by him. The scheme for the museum had finalized, but hadn’t been realized yet. The layout of the museum is along the foot of hill, but seems to have little relationship with the roads. Meanwhile, the government had invited an artist to create a 33-meter-high dragon-shape sculpture standing in this desolated site before the construction of museum and the plaza.
The landscape architect preliminary layouts functional areas and arranges the parking area on both sides of the site by taking full advantage of edge plots to ensure the wholeness of the central portion. Fire passage surrounding the museum and main passages to the city are set aside. An event space is set in front of the museum. The other spaces can be used for recreational and commercial activities.
After a careful study, the designer finds that although the site is seemingly flat, it is actually located on the gentle slope of foot of the hill, the museum is slightly higher than the surrounding roads, and the edge of the site is lower about 1.5 meters than the urban roads. Because of the large size of the site, the elevation change is not easily perceived. Designer is acutely aware of that this will be the breaking point, and arranges two semi-underground business buildings along the edge to solve the height difference and sets the boundaries and blocks the traffic noise from urban roads to create a quieter plaza environment.
With the ingenious landform, the buildings are hidden under the undulating grass slope and get the comfort physical environment admitting light and wind. Close to commercial buildings, a sunken area is designed, creating relatively independent business area and effectively subdividing the space, reducing the sense of scale. Pavement, benches and plants further subdivide the sunken space for the future outdoor commercial use.
A fountain is designed surrounding the dragon sculpture, making the original isolated sculpture integrated with the plaza properly. To obtain symmetric space, the other fountain is designed on the other side of the museum entrance. The upper and lower pools form waterfalls because of the height difference, bringing changes to the site, and also creating a good business atmosphere for the lower plaza. A series of green islands with wooden platform and benches create smaller spaces of human scale on the upper plaza. And irregularly arranged tree beds and long stone bench provide a relaxing environment.
Considering the public use, landscape architect encloses a series of small open-air amphitheaters with green islands in the southwest of museum, providing an attractive place for people’s rest, gathering and cultural performance. The designer also creates bold steel sculptural lights in the air, and their changing color makes open-air amphitheaters with interesting effect. Continuous nonlinear structural lights run throughout the amphitheaters and unite them together and are the important landscape elements. Inspired by the museum’s exhibition theme – carapace-bone-script, the designer extracts form language from the ancient Chinese character, and creates most landscape elements such as buildings, green islands, benches, lighting, and so on, and use the character as patterns of plaza pavement. This abstract and organic form is well coordinated with the irregular site.
Landscape Architecture: Atelier DYJG
Location: Fushan District, Yantai City, Shandong Province, China
Construction End: 07.2013
Date of Acceptance: 02.2014