Sakura Valley / TJAD Original Design Studio


Sakura Valley / TJAD Original Design Studio

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Text description provided by the architects. Between the Zha Pu Road Bridge and the Sichuan Road Bridge, there is a semi-underground building, which is used for municipal services such as plantation shift rooms. One part of the shift room is an accessible roof, the other a group of square cone glass skylights. With the development of the city, the urban function of the Suzhou River has shifted from the urban canal to the riverside space living with the landscape and public activities. The shift room could not meet the needs of the new function. Therefore, its remodeling is necessary.

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We believe that the urban space should be a space that tells stories. The existing space should more or less be left with some traces. It should be a place where the translucent film layers overlap. Considering that the structure and space of the old building have some use value, the original frame of the building is preserved during the transformation process. All partitions are deleted. And the ground elevation of the original building is open.

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The Sunken Sakura Valley is hidden below the city’s waterfront line, enriching the spatial level of the citizens’ daily hydrophilic activities, providing a variety of possible public spaces for the city. It is cherished by workers of media such as fashion, news and advertising.

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In terms of construction, we try to express the contrast between the slight permeability of the steel structure and the heavy, stable concrete frame. At the intersection of the free and changeable steel structure corridor system and the homogeneous concrete frame system, we riveted the homogeneous steel structure frame (the small columns with cantilevered steel beams of the two sides) with the concrete frame.

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The steel grid and the model steel plate system are integrated into the frame of the steel structure, which guarantees the thickness of the entire steel platform within 50mm. The guardrail of the steel structure adopts the form of flat steel and orthogonal steel trellis. The flat steel and the frame of the steel structure meet in a module alignment. The steel trellis is integrated into the flat steel frame, which ensures permeability and also matches the structural logic of the steel platform. In terms of materials, the frame of the original structure is unified by the wash stone and forms a light and heavy contrasting dialogue relationship with the three-dimensional viewing corridor of the steel structure.

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Some of the structural frames have been turned into tree pools, in which cherry trees have been planted to continue the original plant sequence at the site. The Sakura trees constitute the thematic plants of the site, which become the characteristic clues of the structure. When the cherry blossom is in full bloom, the cherry blossoms and the river landscape can be connected through a three-dimensional experience. The design hopes to create a public space with a strong memory of time and nature, which is why it is named Sakura Valley.

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With the cooperation of the structure and organization of the space, visitors get a three-dimensional visual frame of the slope, the top of the slope and the top of the frame, which enriches the experience of the riverside landscape. The multi-level spatial treatment provides people with a variety of angles to experience and appreciate the riverside landscape and enhances the sense of “visit and view” of urban public space.

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Joseph E. Golightly