Studio Zhu-Pei

Located to the south-east of Shou County, the project reflects the introverted character of the historical settlement: the austere appearance of this isolated monolith conceals a labyrinth of patios and paths adapted to a wide programme. The project claims to its identity in a district that pullulates with impersonal architecture. The monumentality of this new work introduces a leap in scale intent on offering a contemporary reinterpretation of local residential models. The plan is a sequence of open spaces, the plaza in front of the building entrance represents the tang wu (central hall) of the traditional home and the patios recall the garden behind local public housing estates; voids and solids are connected by an itinerary that mimics the articulated network of streets in the fortified city. Water welcomes visitors to the Center, wrapping it on three sides. It declares the building’s autonomy from its surroundings and amplifies the uniqueness of this “inhabitable sculpture”.

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