Axis Alley

Axis Alley

Architect
Waterfrom Design
Location
Beijing, China | View Map
Project Year
2021
Category
Visitor Center
Vincent Wu

Axis Alley

Waterfrom Design as Architects

Moderation, extending the shadow of an ancient city

The pursuit of balance and moderation to achieve the ultimate goal of eternality is the spirit of the Doctrine of the Mean cultivated by ancient literati. People believe that the power of self-contained calmness and transcendence can help develop a constant and orderly relationship with time and space, resulting in endlessness. It is Waterfrom Design’s ambition to apply the five virtues, gentleness, kindness, courtesy, frugality, and modesty, advocated by gentlemen to humanistic attribute of architecture to embody the gentle but powerful spirit in space.

photo_credit Vincent Wu
Vincent Wu
photo_credit Vincent Wu
Vincent Wu

Integration of warmth and softness; balance between calmness and peacefulness
Due to the arc-shaped building, this project is composed of a long and winding base traffic flow, surrounding the outdoor garden, with the indoor corridors to be explored. We adopt the central axis symmetry of the Chinese-style building, and the technique of one entry with one courtyard to reflect the elegance and solemnity. In the modern space, we designed landscape penetrating the long bridge of the garden and the array of pillars,symbolizing a corner of an art gallery where viewers can appreciate paintings, or a circular dome where viewers can feel the light of the sky. The audiences can feel sensory layers of rituals to experience the ups and downs of the senses. The design reflects the cultural heritage of moderation and harmony in the space, transforming the power of philosophy and traditional architecture to stabilize emotions into modern architectural characters.

photo_credit Vincent Wu
Vincent Wu
photo_credit Vincent Wu
Vincent Wu

Goodness and purity; cleansing dust with light
Following the sequential order of traffic flow, the light intensifies the mood of the space. Dynamically, the light guides the path direction and the nature of the objects. Statically, the light gathers the pure power of staring, enabling people to be immersed in a peaceful and unbiased state of mind and let go of the unpredictable external disturbances. On the axis of the path, we designed a circular space surrounded by columns, and opened the funnel-shaped skylight at the center of the dome. When the daylight is gently diffused from above, it is a contrast against the height of the compressed space in the surrounding space and endows people witha sense of sacredness and peace of mind.

photo_credit Vincent Wu
Vincent Wu
photo_credit Vincent Wu
Vincent Wu

Matrix sequence reflecting courtesy and moderation
Repeated ritual behaviors help pacify personal emotions, enabling people to achieve a state of no others, no self, no sorrow or joy, as well as develop reverence and cherishment of ordinary things, creating the power of calmness. The concept of the structure of Chinese-style building of one entry with one courtyard to create a sense of tranquility is fulfilled in this design. The ancient symmetry and magnificence can be observed in the old streets of Beijing city. We condensed such features into the indoor axis, laid out the open/introverted matrix in a neat and symmetrical manner,and accumulated a calm rhythm between the end view and the axis transition, guiding people to let go of themselves, reflect on themselves, and immerse themselves in the proper balance and stability of the building.

photo_credit Vincent Wu
Vincent Wu
photo_credit Vincent Wu
Vincent Wu

In addition to planning the axis and matrix, we also added exquisite changes in the line structure in small places. The wall corner system was cut inward at right angles, and metal thin rods were embedded in the inner corner of the cut surface to enrich the facade. In the academy-style talking area, a decorative matrix system is embedded in collection of books to create a balanced rhythm between the lines. Each symmetrical end view reveals a more microscopic view of order.

photo_credit Vincent Wu
Vincent Wu
photo_credit Vincent Wu
Vincent Wu

Moderation, modesty, and sense of nature
In order to echo the low-profiled atmosphere of poetry of the indoor, we chose rustic materials with traces of time to define the tone. With the thickness of the solid wood, such as the blending of Shen Kelong’s lacquer art, even the natural chaotic patterns of the stone are like the path of copper porcelain craftsmanship. The cracks and mottles stretch out the atmosphere which is full of eagerness, moderation, modesty, and simplicity.

photo_credit Vincent Wu
Vincent Wu
photo_credit Vincent Wu
Vincent Wu

The humbleness and low-profiled nature are not only manifested in the aesthetics of the selection of objects, but also in the humanistic vision of cherishing nature and respecting the four seasons.Haidian District is located in the famous “Eight Scenic Spots of Yanjing,” with scenery of Xishan Mountain, clear snow, Jimen smoke trees, etc., enjoying the distinct changes of the earth brought about by the four seasons. We designed various large-scale windows and shrank the boundaries of the indoor field to let the gardens and seasonal colors naturally integrate with the indoor and let the sunshinecome in the indoor space where viewers can watch the rain and dew and feel nature more real than in the history in the pure space at a minimum level.

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