Interval Architects, Botanic Art Center in Hengshui (China)
Photos: Zhi Geng
The Chinese government’s plan to transform wetlands outside the city of Hengshui into a botanical park included a gallery in which to showcase plants, pottery, and floral art. A work of Interval Architects, the Shanghai-based practice of Oscar Ko and Gu Yunduan, the new building replaces an abandoned old brick kiln that had a tall chimney. With the aim of engaging with the place’s history, the building presents a sequence of interconnected vaulted arcades, with courtyards breaking the continuity. Bricks are stacked in a variety of patterns to form perforated patches of wall that, with the play of light and shadow they create, have the effect of alleviating the overall composition of heavy solid masses. With a structure of reinforced concrete, the 35.6-meter-tall observation tower draws inspiration from the preexisting chimney, providing four viewing decks at different altitudes.
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