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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Anqiu Cultural Centre – The People’s Place

By Marina Correa
Photography: Courtesy the architect

Anqiu Cultural Centre in Shandong Province, China by Little Architects
Anqiu Cultural Centre

The design concept for the Anqiu Cultural Centre, located in the Shandong Province of China, is firmly rooted in an agrarian mindset; albeit with an intriguing difference…

Known as the ‘land of cultivation, stone hills and creeks’, the design is analogous to these strong geographical characteristics, subtly connecting the city to the mountains.

Anqiu Cultural Centre in Shandong Province, China by Little Architects
Planning Museum and Planning Bureau Building
Anqiu Cultural Centre in Shandong Province, China by Little Architects
Museum Building

Metaphorically, just as crops are sowed in straight lines on cultivable lands, a striated datum (paving lines at plaza level) continues vertically as structural supports for the canopy and go beyond - transforming into overhead cabled and ceramic tube trellis that runs across the entire site.

Anqiu Cultural Centre in Shandong Province, China by Little Architects
Citizen Centre Building

Similarly, five major buildings on the campus namely, a performing arts centre, museum, cultural centre, library and planning museum represent the Qingyun Mountain range, while the orientation of the buildings and covered canopies connecting the campus plinth to the other adjacent sites creates a public circulation that mimics the flow of local creeks.

Anqiu Cultural Centre in Shandong Province, China by Little Architects
Citizen Centre Building - Interiors

The mandate to create an iconic and sprawling 50,000 sq. mts. campus that will put Anqiu on the tourism map was ably won by US-based firm Little due to their smart design solutions. One of the challenges was to create a centre for culture that would be based conceptually on the spirit of Anqiu. “We addressed this by observing its culture, history and raison d’etre,” says Tomas Jiménez-Eliæson, director of design, Little.

Anqiu Cultural Centre in Shandong Province, China by Little Architects
Citizen Centre Building - Interiors

Creating a people’s place turned out to be their greatest opportunity as it allows a whole city to use and experience a communal and cultural environment enhancing their lives and strengthening the ethos of the regional landscape.

Anqiu Cultural Centre in Shandong Province, China by Little Architects
Performing Arts Building

Raising design sensibilities a few notches higher, is the identity conferred on each of the five buildings viz. a combination of materials and environmental graphics such as different coloured zinc metals used at entries and openings plus corresponding colours for signages and interior finishes. Thus, encircling them all as part of the macrocosm, while on the other hand allowing individual identity to flourish.

Anqiu Cultural Centre in Shandong Province, China by Little Architects
Performing Arts Building - Interiors

This whole system will be built under a geothermal network thereby spawning a sustainable environment. Commendably, this yet-to-be-constructed project has already bagged three awards - a telling statement of its enriching impact on the people of Anqiu.

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