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Atelier Scale：”Neighborhood Canyon” is a creative exploration of the use of landform by size in the everyday landscape of contemporary China.
Being one of the most commonly adopted approaches, landform contains different meanings in different cultural contexts. However, it has barely been restructured in contemporary Chinese landscape practices as we have discovered, and, just like a black box, its shaping strategy and contemporary connotations deserve to be explored. Our steps shall never stop at discussions about its picturesque nature or poetic tastes. Atelier Scale’s creative exploration, The Valley, shows how landform can be applied in daily and contemporary Chinese landscape.
Located in Lux Lakes Ecological Town southward to Tianfu Avenue in Chengdu, The Valley – Courtyard of Ting is a community whose enclosed architectural layout creates a great elevation difference inside and out. According to our observation, such spatial conditions suggest a living experience different from other adjacent waterfront communities. This thinking leads to a design approach based on the vertical relations of spaces, rendering a new spatial experience and unlocking a new lifestyle for Lux Lakes Community.
▽外街的商业绿岛暗示着中庭内的峡谷 The commercial green island of the outer street hints at the canyon within the atrium
寻谷：用地形应对空间挑战 In Search of Valleys: Addressing Spatial Challenges with Landform
1. 塑造独特体验 A Unique Experience
The Valley is composed of commercial streets on the ground and a community courtyard one floor above. Walking up to the courtyard surrounded by tower buildings from the outside commercial district via a narrow and long slope with a great difference in height (30m long and 3.5m high), people will have an experience that is quite distinct from other waterfront communities of the Lux Lakes as it comes from a special spatial pattern. Our vision is to present an interesting experience of landscape inside the community in proportion to the architectural pattern, with landform creations based on the stretching and re-creation of spatial movement.
▽用塑造地形的手法搭建景观空间框架 The landscape space frame is built by shaping the terrain
▽进入首层大堂之前的冲刷绿岛 Wash Green Island before entering the lobby on the ground floor
▽具有自然雕塑感的树池与坐凳 A natural sculpture of the tree pool and stool
2. 界定空间与动线 Spatial Definition and Circulation Flow
Inside the atrium are artificial valleys tilting toward the center and a valley is born within. Three layers of landscape satisfy different demands, thus creating a very special atmosphere. Valleys themselves are natural and interactive for social activities. Movable and modular furniture and planting beds are placed to soften the 10m-wide hard paving, sheltering those who need a rest when walking in the loop. With open floors in each building, gardens under different themes scatted at joints of loops serve as spaces for social activities as well as a connection between indoor and outdoor. The EVA(emergency Vehicular Access ), an alien element to this landscape, is transformed into lifestyle programs for this space.
▽建筑前的树荫与外摆空间，缓和了生硬的消防登高面 The shade and exterior space in front of the building soften the rigid fire climbing surface
3. 丰富层次与纵深 Depth Elongated by Multiple Layers
Green valleys and the water corridor twist people’s direct glance into atrium, enriching the landscape experience. Gentle slopes for each valley stretching into the lobby are very pleasing to the eyes as the view of natural vegetation is available indoors. Nodes for different activities are craftily dotted inside while streamlined walkways are structured to be three-dimensional as the landform changes, guiding pedestrians into valleys to enjoy outdoor activities and the nature.
▽丰富的峡谷层次有效地化解了入户之间的直视 The rich canyon layers effectively dissolve the direct view between the doors
▽流动的空间为庭院中的体验带来了丰富的变化 The flowing space brings a rich variety to the experience in the courtyard
4. 以植物柔化地形 Landform Softened with Plants
Plants are presented from multiple perspectives along the ups and downs of valley landform: patches of plants form a natural canopy line along the slope, sheltering those in the walkway and on slopes for social activities; interactive slopes are mainly covered with lawns so that people and nature can be more intimate; flowers at key connections not only bring people more delicate and diversified experiences, but also serve as a buffer. As long as the depth of soil for planting is ensured, backfilling of light medium is introduced to reduce the load of cover soil on structural roof.
▽仿佛置身于“山林”之中的峡谷乔木 As if in the “mountain forest” of the canyon trees
▽模拟自然山谷中的葱郁绿意 Simulate the lush greenery of a natural valley
▽无地被种植的区域以树皮覆盖，不一定总是草皮 Unplanted areas are covered with bark, not necessarily always sod
探谷：用山谷承载功能需求 Exploring Valleys: Valleys as Programs
Over seven hundred households inside the community across the age spectrum carry diversified spatial needs, including parent-child relationships, socializing, community events, exercising, and health-keeping. We hope to incorporate all these functional spaces into nature. In combination with landform, they can activate every landform and create unique and interconnected valleys.
▽赋予地形功能和场景 Give terrain features and scenes
1.亲子山丘 Kids’ Hill
In an exploratory and exciting parent-child valleys in the northwest, a waved corridor sheltered by trees and across two hills is quite suitable for children to feel the nature. The corridor fully takes advantage of two hills to combine climbing, shuttling, overlooking, sitting, and sliding. Comfortable green slopes under tree canopy are the best places for children to play. Cliffs to slopes are designed to be mirrored interactive walls for exciting climbing. As space and nature are closely combined for games, kids can enjoy enriched exploratory activities with one another, which makes possible more diverse activities.
▽跨越两座峡谷的穿山廊道 A corridor through the mountains across two canyons
▽通透的绳网保护着小朋友们的游玩 The transparent rope net protects the children’s play
▽有着神奇反射效果的镜面互动墙 Mirrored interactive wall with magical reflection effect
The lower part of valleys is transformed into a platform with partial enlargement so as to be a playground for younger children inside the garden. This platform encircled by low landscape furniture is an ideal and safe playground with micro-elevation differences for children playing inside and for parents watching them.
▽对低龄儿童友好的低处台地 Low terraces friendly to young children
2.社交山丘 Social Hill
Green valleys can be a comfortable sitting room or a relaxing space for meditation. Light shade structures are introduced into the valleys to encourage more residents to go inside and be immersed in nature. Different lounges inside the forests are for people with different requirements to take a rest. As the furniture is designed based on the shade structure and the landform, it can fulfill various purposes in different interactive scenarios. As transparent as it can be, the shade structure is very light, almost invisible to people’ s eyes, blurring the boundaries that separate nature and human world so that plants can freely sneak into its realm.
▽庭院入口处起伏的社交廊架 Undulating social gallery at the courtyard entrance
▽ 廊架的光影 The light and shadow of the porch
▽山丘上的山顶客厅 A hilltop living room on a hill
3.掩体山丘 Shelter Hill
As two passenger elevators sink to the underground parking lot directly from the atrium, a 4.2-meter high lift room and supporting equipment are provided for residents’ convenience. However, challenges in the usage of atrium space arise as a result. Considering the structural roof, our advice on lowering the passenger elevator hall by 1.2 m to mitigate the pressure on landscape was adopted. The 3-meter high establishment above the ground is wrapped in green so that the elevator hall is hidden in hills like a cave. The path into or out of the green valley is through an accessible ramp, which is quite a special ritual.
▽以轻质技术措施的方式实现绿色山丘 Green hills are achieved by means of lightweight technical measures
▽从电梯出来的无障碍坡道与覆绿的挡墙 Barrier-free ramp from the lift with a green barrier wall
▽从电梯出来后，进入中央溪谷 Exit the elevator and enter the Central Valley
游谷：让溪谷连接邻里生活 Touring the Valleys: Connecting Neighborhood by Valley
The core area of The Valley is a valley connecting hills and gathering different groups of people together for communication. This is also a bond in the neighborhood, encouraging intimate and diversified lifestyles.
The valley is defined by clustered hills that are shaped by endless and flowing low walls, revealing chapter after chapter of stories between hills and the water. This is a very interesting and rhythmic experience. A space facing the creek for people to sit down is created as the low and retaining walls are joined in by terrace and furniture.
▽山谷向中心挤压界定出溪谷 The valley is defined by the thrust of the valley towards the centre
▽中央溪谷是社区居民的户外客厅 The Central Valley serves as the community’s outdoor living room
▽流线矮墙与坐凳 Streamline low wall and bench
There is no doubt that water is the most important clue inside the valley. However, we hope the water design in landscape will be presented in a reserved manner and for daily purpose. We carefully selected the pivots of water and ensured that every water design matches the spatial positioning of different areas in their size, form, and interaction. The consistency is maintained as the language for water landscape as a whole is in line with the valley, but there are also interesting changes. Moving scenarios of people’s daily lives are therefore unveiled along the valley.
▽在重要位置点出水景，让生活随着溪谷展开 Place a water feature at a key location and let life unfold along the valley
▽位于点睛位置的克制水景 Restrained water feature in the focal position
▽作为坡道入口端景的树池水景 Tree pool water view as end view of ramp entrance
▽树池边缘的描边水景 Stroked water feature on edge of tree pool
▽中央溪谷内浅薄的互动水景 Shallow interactive water feature in the Central Valley
塑谷：不只诗情画意 Shaping Valleys: More than Poems
There are more than poem and painting from the uneven landform of The Valley, their residential courtyard. This is more like a challenging and unique landscape strategy which creatively explores connotations of landform. We hope to fully unleash the landscape potential of landform in a site-specific environment.
The relative locations and heights of different landforms in the Courtyard of Ting are in topological spatial relations, prolonging the depth of field and enabling smaller yards to offer a larger spatial sense. These topological relations are switched between the third-person view (the programming and tension of forms from an overlooking angle) and the first-person view (the exploration of spatial depth and landscape layers from the human perspective).
A dynamic landform strategy based on spatial experience is applied to The Valley apart from the topological relations as every up and down of landform is equipped with its corresponding program, either for family activities, socializing, or sheltering. Richer plants and the combination of recreation and sightseeing based on landform are the contemporary interpretation of Asian courtyards, which is quite different from the western geometric landforms. We believe that landform, as a charming social space, surprises the contemporary Chinese in their daily lives quite often in a positive way. Effectively applying this charming language of landform design for people to lighten up is what Atelier Scale is committed to.
▽地形错位关系所产生的魔法，让人觉得庭院比实际的更大 The magic of the topographic dislocation makes the courtyard seem bigger than it really is
建筑顾问：Brearley Architects + Urbanists(BAU)
Design Name: The Valley
Project Name: Ting Courtyard, Luxe Lakes
Project Location: Chengdu, China
Landscape Design: Atelier Scale
Design Team: Huicheng Zhong, Di Wang, Zhigang Liu, Zhihua Chen, Shaozhong Yuan, Qimei Ling, Juan Lin
Client: Chengdu Wanhua Group
Client Team: Wanhua Group Landscape Center
Construction Contractor: Sichuan LanGuanGjinGu Environment Technology
LDI (Local Design Institute): Sichuan Ledao Landscape Design, LTD
Landscape Signage: Shanghai Boxi SIgnage
Landscape Furniture Staging: Chengdu Moli Decoration Art Design, LTD
Seasonal Flora design: Sichuan Qianshan Flower Bed, LTD
Playground Product Development: Chengdu LuDaoYuanXiang AI Technology, LTD
Architect: Brearley Architects + Urbanists(BAU), Sichuan Architecture Design & Research Institute, LTD (Construction Documentation)
Photo Credit: Nancy Studio
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