Ersha Recreation & Cultural Center
Property Owner: Chinese Culture Promotion Association
Time of Design: Aug, 2010 – 2014
Time of Completion: 2015

Though the plan has been revised for several times, our original intention to provide flexible function space for the sharing of updated urban cultural development and beautiful natural scenery with the citizens remains unchanged. The purpose of green architecture is to reduce operational cost and make the sharing sustainable.

The site is located at the south of the Ersha Island by the Pearl River. Neighboring the Guangdong Fine Art Museum and Xinghai Concert Hall, and within 1km distance from the Pearl River New Town, it is a blessed land in downtown that is endowed with both cultural atmosphere and benign eco-environment.

The design project was launched in the autumn of 2010. The client is Chinese Culture Promotion Association, a foundation committed to the promotion and support of Chinese traditional craftsmanship and art. While 3000m2 of the site has been designated for Neo Lingnan Fine Art Museum, the client expects the designer to come up with an operation plan for the rest 12000m2, which would yield sufficient profit for the development of the Museum, continuous promotion and support for local art and culture, and finally contributing to the formation of a sustainable cultural industry.

Enterprise Museum Village (Aug 2010 – Mar 2011)
At first our plan is to build a number of enterprise museums clustering around the Neo Lingnan Fine Art Museum. While the art museum mainly exhibits traditional arts and crafts, the enterprise museum project invites national and international famous brands to set up their Enterprise Experience Showrooms, telling the growth stories of their brands and enterprises as well as providing experience consumption and on-site leisure enjoyment to the visitors against the background of overwhelming e-commerce. Therefore in the original plan, a number of small buildings, which are relatively independent in appearance, are connected by junctions on various levels with 3000m2 for each floor totally. Multi-story single shop of 1000-5000m2 is another option to cater to various operation strategies. Thanks to the independent outlook of each building, the enterprises are able to renovate the exterior according to their own brand images, so a vigorous village instead of a mall consisted of uniform stalls would coming into being.

However, the first plan was vetoed in the first round of consulting with government planning department for concerns that a vertical villages group would fail to project the image of Guangzhou as an international metropolis especially in a significant downtown location by the Pearl River.
The feedback from potential retail tenants is not promising either, for international big brands would not put their strategic focus in Guangzhou while most of the 1st-tier national brands, with a short history of less than 20 years, still struggling for profit making and not familiar with the concept of brand culture promotion, are concerned that the current pedestrian flow may not entail sufficient retail sales.

Public Saloon for All Citizens
Our second plan intends to attract more people by building an around-the-clock public square. The halls in the art museum which don’t need natural view are situated on the ground floor and covered by gentle slope. The visitors may ascend the stairs to reach the open square on the 2nd floor, where concert and market of creative works can be accommodated, with coffee shop seats scattered on the waterfront balcony. The other exhibition halls hang in the air and are connected with the platform by sight-seeing lifts.

The plan is vetoed again. According to the planning department, the open floor, though used for public benefit, needs to be taken into account for plot ratio calculation. But the client is concerned that the rest of the floors available for leasing may not be able to yield sufficient profit to support the daily operation of the art museum.

A Hill by the River (Sep 2012 - Dec 2012)
Though the previous plan that offers the public a big platform to appreciate the beautiful river view failed to pass, we tried in the 3rd plan to offer an open rooftop platform for the citizens to have an even broader river view including the marvelous landmark, Canton Tower, with a “Sunset Café Bar” on the west and an open cinema on the east.
The exhibition halls are located inside and the halls on various floors are connected by gentle slopes of 140m along the two sides on the west and the south facing the river. The entire visiting route is like spiral mountain path which not only offers river view but also serves as most effective sunshade for energy saving. The slopes hanging outside the building present a unique appearance which is jokingly called by the client as “fancy-shaped steamed rice roll”.

A Street in Downtown (Mar 2012)
The plan of “Steamed Roll” was highly recognized by the planning department and relevant experts. But the client was concerned that owing to the elevation difference between the slope passages and the exhibition halls, the functional flexibility of the halls may be affected. When a hall needs to open its wall, sightlines from the interior space may be obstructed.The modified design represents a leveled external corridor which allows gallery goers enjoy the Pearl River view in the outside while they walk from one exhibition area to another.

The final plan adds more details of green architecture. Besides the sunshade on the southern and the western exterior passages, shutters are added on the east and the 2-story open entrance on the southeast brings in cool wind from the river. Natural ventilation is applied in all the public passages to reduce daily operation cost. The wells for natural lighting and ventilation in the basement further reduce energy consumption. Most of the emergency passages are designed in open and unique form so as to attract visitors for the purposes of reducing both elevator operating cost and pedestrian density on each floor. Halls with large floor area are more flexible in meeting the needs of various functions as well as sustainable development. The rooftops covered by greenery are equipped with rainwater collection systems and the western elevation is a vertical green wall which helps create a unique image of the museum.

Though the plan has been revised for several times, our original intention to provide flexible function space for the sharing of updated urban cultural development and beautiful natural scenery with the citizens remains unchanged. The purpose of green architecture is to reduce operational cost and make the sharing sustainable.