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Qian Hai, Hou Lang
Qian Hai, Hou Lang

Qian Hai Environmental Art Design Idea Competition

The Hong Kong Institue of Architects

Qian Hai, PRC

Competition Period

Situated in not only the most significant cultural hub of the city, but also one of the world’s most acclaimed cultural quarters, we believe that the pavilion should not only be architecturally iconic, but also culturally monumental. This pavilion would be used to express and introduce our city’s and our people’s culture to the world.

So what is most imperative in a ‘culture’? Language. The way of communication is the ultimate foundation for culture and a crucial symbol of belonging. Our Chinese language has roots from over 3,000 years ago, and with roughly 10,000 characters – morphemes (a grammatical unit in a language) – still in use, our Traditional Chinese characters are probably our most complex and deep-seated culture of all.

We therefore construct the structure of our pavilion using the innate structural system of our Chinese characters.

Every Chinese character, no matter how complex, fits into exactly the same amount of space. Always written within the supports of 9-square grids, all Chinese characters can be characterized into 11 different structural combinations of solid & void.

By illustrating this structural system through a series of 9-square grid units and concurrently through the elevations, we hope the pavilion is not only interactive, but also informative.

The units of 9-square grids not only create a functional interior, but the characters embedded into each grid can also be removed to become additional seating. By embedding all characters from ‘The Book of Family Names’ into the 9-square grid units, we also anticipate visitors to enthusiastically mingle, and subsequently fill the pavilion with activity.

Each grid is also sustainably designed as an individual unit, to be easily disassembled so that they can disperse throughout the whole cultural district after the pavilion is dismantled.