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Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

China Architecture News - Jan 14, 2021 - 16:19   5947 views

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

Penda China, led by co-founders Sun Dayong & Wan Shuyan, has completed a madeleine-shaped canopy portal for the Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in Hainan Province, China.

Named Wenming East Tunnel Entrances, the entrance portal has been designed as a masterplan by PRC’s central government to get the ball rolling in supporting the construction of Hainan Free Trade Port, which has been designated to be a hub port under the policy of The Belt and Road Initiative.

Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel is 4380m at its full length (2720m for the underground 6-lane dual carriageway) with a maximum depth of over 23m. 

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

It is the first tunnel to be constructed underneath the Nandu River; vehicles traveling within the tunnel may drive at a maximum speed of 60km/h on the motorway, with a reduced speed limit of 40km/h at road junctions.

For the portal, Penda China defined a curvilinear grace with a madeleine-shaped canopy portal, integrating the entrance, threshold and transition zones into a unified whole.

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

The design of the portal takes cues from a bionic design, taking elements of marine life as sculptural inspiration, and specifically uses undulating white shells as a prototype in homage to their location by the sea. 

Within the scope of this masterplan, Penda China was commissioned to design three entrances to the tunnel, one of which is much larger in scale and located on the East side, by the shoreline; the other two are on the West side and much smaller.

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

"Generally, vehicular tunnel entrances must provide a transition zone in order to allow the human eye time to acclimate to the considerable change in brightness when going into the tunnel," said Penda China. 

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

To dispel any danger to potential drivers, Penda China’s design does away with LED light grilles, and instead incorporates a curved madeleine-shaped canopy.

This open clamshell shape ushers in natural light, while maintaining a uniformity of luminance at the entrance.

The canopy is clad in glazed aluminum panels, which have been selected for their exceptional shine and luster. Subtle black lines delineate the outer surface of the canopy in counterpoint to the expanse of curving white panels.

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

The underside of the canopy also incorporates the undulating texture, with the white material continued down the side walls to ensure a uniformity of luminance which is pleasing to the eye. The appearance of a fish’s gills has been taken as a motif there, in a continuation of the marine life theme.

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

Light travels into the tunnel and over the undulating surface in a rhythmic manner, akin to ripples in still water which gently repeat and gradually subside. The way the stainless steel sheets have been embedded in the granite walls allows the reflected light pattern to continue further, extending the established rhythm. 

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

Penda China have also drawn creative inspiration from marine bioluminescence, incorporating a multitude of small lights embedded in the lines between cladding panels. This allows the outer shell to emit a glow at night from up top, bringing a hint of romance to the city.

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

The three entrance designs vary in size, shape, and location, while all adhering to the same set of design principles, creating a harmony between them and their particular sites. 

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

From a bird’s eye point of view, these futuristic landmark entrances stand out from the existing city fabric and provide a tinge of surrealism to Haikou, as envisioned by Penda China. 

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

As time goes on, who knows what a city will look like 20 years from now? Perhaps these entrances are simply a beautiful vision of the future, as imagined by Penda China.

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

Master plan

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

Concept sketch

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

East entrance plan

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

East entrance section

Penda China completes madeleine-shaped portal for Haikou Wenming East Road Tunnel in China

West-North entrance section

Penda China was founded by Sun Dayong and Wan Shuyan in  in 2013, Penda China is a Beijing-based studio for delivering a multiplicity of projects that celebrate innovative and sustainable design. 

Penda China designed MINI LIVING Urban Cabin in China and Hongkun Art Auditorium in China.

Project facts

Project name: Wenming East Tunnel Entrances 

Location: Jiangdong New District, Haikou, Hainan Province, China

Project size: 2720m (East-30*60/West-15*60)

Year: 2020

Principal designers: Sun Dayong & Wan Shuyan

Design team: Penda China

LDI: Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Railway Traffic Design & Research Institute

All images © Xia Zhi

All drawings © Penda China

> via Penda China