The Exhibition Hall takes Lingbi Stone, the ornamental stone of Suzhou, as inspiration and establishes a cultural landmark embellished with regional characteristics for Suzhou New District by interpreting the stone’s charming features of being thin, airy, porous and creased with contemporary design techniques. It also employs low-tech ecological energy-saving strategies to reduce building energy consumption.
Situated within an open space in Bianbei New District of the city, the design challenges of Suzhou Urban Planning Exhibition Hall mainly lie in how to define the urban space as well as how to utilize the landmark building as the catalyst of urban vitality. The urban planning exhibition hall has become an emerging type of cultural landmarks since 2000; however, if the architecture only values its unconventional imagery without rich functions or any operational plan, this kind of display content that has great potentials to interact with the public will be wasted. Therefore, Suzhou Urban Planning Exhibition Hall proposes to design a planning exhibition hall for civic engagement. With its architectural space being open and inclusive, the Exhibition Hall will actively welcome the civic life as part of it and organize activities for the public that are richly entertaining. The design scheme has deeply dug into the local context and its uniqueness, and hence forms a spatial organization that naturally makes the architecture a regional cultural landmark of the area. The square-shaped building sits on one side of the square, covering two major functions of display and office. Inspired by Lingbi Stone, it abstractly portrays with contemporary techniques a cultural landmark that is solid but airy, simple yet versatile, and constantly changing, which creates a variety of public spaces, offering multiple possibilities of use to the citizens.
The design takes advantage of “narrow lanes “and “courtyards “to form a “hollow structure with multiple wind tunnels”. The “narrow lanes “conform to the dominant wind directions during the summertime, introducing the natural winds to enter at a low level and come out high, which, in combination with the updraft of heated air, strengthens natural ventilation; in the winter, “courtyard “plants will block the prevailing winds and thus improve indoor comfort, which stands for “porous”. Having been open to the public, Suzhou Urban Planning Exhibition Hall not only performs as an exhibition space of urban planning, but also provides the city with a public, open, vibrant, and experiential place. It will fully explore its nature as a cultural landmark to attract citizens to stay and enjoy, enhancing its display effect of the Hall. The multi-layered architectural space integrated with cutting-edge display technology will also bolster the visiting experience. Suzhou Urban Planning Exhibition Hall will soon become the brand-new business card of Suzhou New District, activates its surrounding areas, and helps improve the city’s image.