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Construction is underwell on MAD's floating Aranya “Cloud Center” in China

China Architecture News - Sep 02, 2022 - 08:30   1286 views

Construction is underwell on MAD's floating Aranya “Cloud Center” in China

MAD Architects has shared the latest construction details of its multi-purpose floating center in Qinhuangdao, China

Named Aranya Cloud Center, the  2,579-square-metre building is nearing completion for Aranya Community in Qinhuangdao, a port city 160 miles east of Beijing, China, with a population of over three million.

The programme of the building consists of a grand hall, a gallery and a small theatre in a fluid geometry. The project, led by Ma Yansong, will serve as a much-needed public art space for the bustling artistic seaside community.

Construction is underwell on MAD's floating Aranya “Cloud Center” in China

Image © MAD Architects

Conceived as a “white stone garden", from the outside the building will mark the center of a sculptural landscape. As it can be seen from the photographs, the steel skeleton of the building is almost complete. MAD first released its conceptual design in 2021. 

The MAD team envisioned the Cloud Center as a singular architecture that becomes the component to a larger context. The site comprises a reflective pond, a garden, and surrounding woods, which complements the building in a peaceful environment. 

MAD takes inspiration by the shape and lightweight appearance of clouds, the gallery, situated in the main volume, is engineered to appear as though it is floating above the rolling landscape that surrounds it.

Construction is underwell on MAD's floating Aranya “Cloud Center” in China

Image © MAD Architects

"This effect was made possible through the creation of a number of structural overhangs that are embedded within the envelope as an internal space frame," said MAD in a project description. 

"The main and secondary truss suspensions are welded to the steel structure of the core, the largest of which are nearly 30 meters in length."

Thanks to that, the gallery is almost built entirely as a column-free area that allows a wide variety of functions while concealing its means of structural support. 

Construction is underwell on MAD's floating Aranya “Cloud Center” in China

Image © Zhu Yumeng

To provide smooth finishing on the façade, the team uses an optimized curtain wall system and its complex curvilinear geometry which allows a limited amount of double-curved glass embedded within the envelope under an anticipated construction cost. 

MAD explained that "the main volume is clad in a curtain wall of white glass panels that have been tempered, laminated and laser-printed to reflect the sunlight, sky and verdant landscape that surrounds it, which was also designed by MAD Architects as a tranquil oasis that contrasts the busy city life just beyond its perimeter; like a real cloud, the building will take on the colors of the sky throughout the day thanks to its glossy paneling system."

Construction is underwell on MAD's floating Aranya “Cloud Center” in China

Image © CreatAR

"When visitors walk from the windy road to the main entrance of the Cloud Center, they are met with a large pond that reflects the underbelly of the white structure, as though it was just like the many clouds in the sky above it, to produce a stunning multiplication of reflective surfaces," the office added.

Since the center is located close to the sea, according to the studio, "it is important to have protection from sea wind erosion by developing a robust waterproof and thermal insulation layer below the curtain wall as it covers the majority of the main volume, aside from an egress and a series of skylights." 

Construction is underwell on MAD's floating Aranya “Cloud Center” in China

Image © Dang Qun

Further, the team designed a number of gaps between the façade panels to allow water collection and drainage, which is aimed to prevent water from stagnating on the building’s envelope.

MAD achieves the “floating” effect by using floor-to-ceiling glass on the ground floor beneath it, where the grand hall occupies the majority of the building’s footprint. 

Construction is underwell on MAD's floating Aranya “Cloud Center” in China

Image © MAD

"Because of the same structural space frame that supports the gallery, the grand hall is also virtually column-free, thus allowing the space to be animated by the efforts of the community and the reflective pond toward the entrance," the office continued.

"Beyond the copious natural lighting achieved by the wraparound glass, a number of lights are embedded within the sculpturally swirling ceiling of the grand hall." 

Construction is underwell on MAD's floating Aranya “Cloud Center” in China

Image © MAD

Construction is underwell on MAD's floating Aranya “Cloud Center” in China

Image © MAD

Construction is underwell on MAD's floating Aranya “Cloud Center” in China

Structure Analysis

Construction is underwell on MAD's floating Aranya “Cloud Center” in China

Facade analysis

When these main spaces need to be subdivided into smaller spaces, such as intimate exhibitions, theatrical performances and conferences, the area can be configured in a wide variety of compositions through the number of non-load-bearing movable walls.

The Aranya Cloud Center is currently under construction and is expected to be completed in 2023.

Project facts

Project name: Aranya “Cloud Center”
Location: Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province, China
Date: 2019-2023
 
Site area: 3,853 sqm
Building area: 2,579 sqm

Principal Partners in Charge: Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano
Associate in Charge: Liu Huiying, Kin Li
Design Team: Liu Hailun, Chen Hungpin, Li Gang, Edgar Navarrete, Yin Jianfeng, Pittayapa Suriyapee, Luis Torres, Chen Yi-en, Zhang Chao

Client: Shijiazhuang Pharma Group, Aranya
Executive Architect/Structural Design: Zhongke (Beijing) Architectural Planning & Design Institute Co., Ltd.
Façade Consultant: RFR Shanghai, King Glass Engineering Co., Ltd.
Landscape Design Consultant: Beijing Sunshine Landscape Co., Ltd
Interior Design Consultant: Montaigne Design Consulting (Shanghai) Ltd.
Lighting Consultant: Lighting Stories (Beijing) Cultural & Creative Co., Ltd.
Signage Design: Beijing Junyi Rongchuang Cultural Communication Limited Company
Stage Consultant: Beijing Yaxun Yingda Technology Development Limited Company
Acoustic Consultant: Beijing Huaxin Sifang Architectural Technique Limited Company

Top image © CreatAR

All drawings © MAD. 

> via MAD Architects 

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