Architecture That Doesn’t Interrupt: Diamond-Shaped Complex in China Integrates Landscape, Buildings, and Walkways
Beijing-based architecture practice HHD_FUN set an example for architecture that doesn’t infringe on greenery, preserving 100 percent of the vegetation on the site where the ‘Earthly Pond Service Center’ was built. One of two designs for the firm's International Horticultural Exposition, the project entailed converting a green belt into a geometric, diamond-shaped complex from which to conveniently admire the public green spaces and water features dotted throughout. The firm’s design defers to the undulating topography, with observatory decks, plaza spaces, green spaces, and a rooftop platform at different heights carved into the natural gradations of the grounds. The central courtyard is sunken below street level, so that passersby on the street have a panoramic view of the “park,” while visitors to the site can visually escape the hubbub. From above, the Earthly Pond Service Center presents a striking aerial view of fluid landscaping covering nearly 248,000 square feet. “The sunken courtyard of the Earthly Pond Service Center is adjoined to the lake wetland. The architecture and landscape heights are set following the natural grade levels, providing multiple accessibilities and viewing experiences at different elevations,” the architects write. The firm’s other in-tandem project for the International Horticultural Exposition, called the Heavenly Water Service Center, integrates a series of buildings by Dutch firm UNStudio into the existing terrain while preserving the site’s natural beauty. The buildings contain activity centers, restaurants, exhibition spaces configured around recreational landscaping that optimizes pedestrian access.