Shandong Provincial Cultural and Art Center / architecturestudio
Text description provided by the architects. As the capital city of Shandong Province, Jinan is not only the center of provincial politics, economy, culture, and education; but also, a tourist city with the unique natural features of “mountains, springs, lakes, and rivers” with far-reaching history and culture. The project is in the core area of the west new town of Jinan. A square site with each side being about 400 meters long. The Grand Theatre is on the south side of the site. As a significant landmark in local urban planning, the total site area is 16.02 hectares, and the construction area is 380,000 square meters. The project was divided into two phases, spending nearly 12 years from the competition to fully furnished. Site scale, building volumes, and urban planning scale are challenges for the studio.
Jinan is known as the city of Springs; therefore, the architectural design started with Spring and used the Chinese vocabulary “Luoyunquanyong” as a concept. It means that the flowing springs from Luo (the ancient name of Jinan) converge into a river. Its metaphor is collecting the cultural sources of the city into the site, making it artistic and concrete. The form of the building rises and falls, like the surge of spring water. The Lashan River is the natural landscape in the site, and the project is divided into three sections along the river from south to north, creating two pathways that bring the waterfront landscape into the site. A north-south axis runs through the middle of the buildings, forming a public space with the entrance plaza in the southeast corner, and completes the main circulation linking the various functional buildings.
Phase I includes the City Art Museum, the City Library, and the Mass Art Museum. Phase II includes a conference room， exhibition hall， hotel, office, commercial, and supporting facilities. The Art Museum stands apart from the other two buildings and faces the entrance square. As a single structure with four levels, it includes one large exhibition hall, two medium exhibition halls, and four small exhibition halls.
The library is a steel structure 35 meters high. The first to the fifth level is public reading spaces with a collection of 1.2 million books. The 540-seat lecture hall and 1,600 square meters of academic exhibition area are on the underground floor. The Mass Art Museum is about 39 meters high with six levels. It includes the museum and offices of five art troupes. The museum contains a 775-seat theater and the Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage. The project focuses on the cultural function, but the commercial area is also a significant part of the planning. The high-rise tower and podium building of phase II provide multiple commercial spaces with more possibilities for this functional complex.
The library is connected to the Mass Art Museum and features a double curtain wall system, with the outer facade made of pierced aluminum panels and the inner curtain wall made of light grey glass. The design of the outer curtain wall is inspired by the local natural landscape, and the images are pixelated and combined in different rhombus to form the facade. The size of the openings in the aluminum panels corresponds to their function, satisfying the need for light in the room while simultaneously taking into account the function of shading. The panels also carry the dynamic lighting design on the facade. At the same time, the studio considered the building lighting design as a part of the urban lighting planning and analyzed the alignment of the curtain wall lighting and landscape lighting. The design integrates diamonds, spring water, and ink as thematic elements into the lighting design. Its dynamic modes of it turn the city light into a soft and beautiful picture.
The studio brought poetry to the facade design and its construction details. Not simply highlighting the visual effects but making the building surface resonate with the surroundings. The hollowed-out randomly framed the city scenery from the inside of the building, creating unexpected surprises. Viewed from the outside, the light displays unique cultural labels of Jinan and delivers thousand years of history behind them.