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TEAM_BLDG: Located in Huli District, Xiamen City, at the former site of an aluminum factory, the building was originally a public bath of the factory. In 2019, it was partially renovated after the aluminum factory was transformed into a creative office park with multiple businesses. TEAM BLDG was asked by Buddha artist Jiang Sheng, to transform the public bath into a new studio and exhibition space called ‘the field’.
The Chinese name of The Field is called “Ji Le Chang”, which is derived Buddhism, meaning the Western Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss or Sukhavati, but “THE FIELD” is not intended to be an isolated pure land. The owner hopes to separate the concept of “isolated and unreachable” and create an appealing spiritual place.
佛的居所 Buddha residence
Unlike previous projects of TEAM BLDG, this is a space with specific purpose which is to showcase the Buddha statues of JIANGJIABAN. Therefore, the design needs to not only deliver humanity, but also create the divine and religious atmosphere.
At the early times of Buddhism, there was no physical subject for people to pray to. With the rise of Mahayana Buddhism and development of craftsmanship, Buddhism stepped into the “Era of Image”. It’s a big challenge to deliver the intangible perception with the interaction between the tangible Buddha statues and the building. The design concept emerged in the initial meetings, that it should be a hidden and even invisible architecture. The building is merely an intermedium to carry the Buddha statues and contain the essence of Buddhism, to be a “residence” for Buddha in the earth.
That said, the form of the old building is still visible. It consists of three volumes, piling up ladder-like from south to north. According to the number of storeys, the three volumes are named as Building 1, 2 and 3. There were many windows on the facade of Building 1, while the interior was divided into five independent spaces. On the east side of the Building 2, there is a big magnolia tree, and inside the building is a double-height space. On the north side, Building 3 was previously transformed into an office space with square window arrayed on the facade.
▼设计手稿： 经过与业主前期交流，我们对一个消隐 的、甚至无形的建筑概念逐渐达成共 识——建筑于此，仅仅是承载佛像与容 纳佛学精义的媒介，是佛在俗世中的一 处“居所”。
▼建筑由三个体块构成，由南向北呈阶梯状堆叠 The building consists of three blocks, arranged south to north, shaping a rhythmic stepped form.
Based on the architectural concept of “the residence of Buddha”, we renovated the building from the inside out. First, we blocked up the windows on the façade of Building 1 and 2, and remove the internal walls of Building 1, to build a relatively integrated “darkroom”, create a kind of inward, closed atmosphere. Inside the exhibition hall, there is a great deal of blank as well as all in one background. Shape of the Buddha Statues stands out with the details of architectural components concealed.
▼我们封堵了1、2号楼外立面的窗口，并打通了1号楼的内部墙体，由此得到一个相对整体化的“暗室”，营造出一种向内、封闭的空间氛围 We blocked up the windows on the façade of Building 1 and 2, and remove the internal walls of Building 1, thus creating a relatively integrated “darkroom”, emphasizing an introvert, enclosed atmosphere.
▼在展厅内部，我们运用大量留白和一体化背景，将部件细节自然隐去，让佛像的自有形态愈加凸显 In the interior of the exhibition hall, we used a lot of white space and integrated background to conceal the details of architectural components, so that the shape of the Buddha Statues becomes more prominent.
Afterwards, the exterior of the building was rearranged and simplified, part of the volume was built solid. The exterior of the building is painted with the same sandalwood yellow as the interior and the special texture of the wall was hand-painted. Three volumes originally with different facades now became unity with harmony. Looking from a distance, a tall magnolia tree stands in the center, shape of the building blurred under the shadow of the magnolia crown. The tangible building became subtle and restrained.
▼建筑外部使用了与内部相同的檀黄色涂料，特殊的墙面肌理由工人师傅手工反复涂抹形成 The exterior of the building is painted with the same sandalwood yellow color as the interior, and the special texture of the wall was hand-painted by the workers.
▼远眺而望，一棵高大繁密的玉兰树占据了视觉中心，建筑形体在树冠的掩映下消隐了边缘，变得隐忍克制，似有还无 From a distance, a tall and dense magnolia tree occupies the center of the sight, and the building appears more obscured under the cover of the canopy, becoming more subtle and restrained, seemingly absent.
光的容器 Vessel of light
▼设计手稿：“极乐场”建筑形体的消隐，使光成为空间中重要的构成因素 Drawing: With the blanking of the architectural bodies, lights become the crucial part of the space.
Xiamen is at Southeast coast of China, blessed with plenty of sunshine and rain. Large Sloping roof and small window openings are usually used in local traditional buildings. Inspired by this, 31 skylights are added on the roof, either round or square, grouped or isolated, which produces two kinds of space bright main hall and a closed dark room. And the Buddha statues are displayed accordingly.
▼我们对建筑外部进行整理与简化，将部分体量做实 We rearrange and simplified the exterior of the building, making part of the volume solid.
▼圆形天窗 Circular skylights.
The 28 circular skylights at the top of the main hall are recessed upwards, appearing as flat spots of light when the sunlight is oblique, and as dense “rain of light” when the sunlight is direct. The Buddha statues in the main hall are mainly carved from dense materials such as wood and stone, and when the light hits them, the light and shadow of the statues constantly change according to the angle of sunlight. In the dark room, a stream of light serves as a spotlight while in the double-height main hall, 28 circular skylights create a stunning ‘rain of light’.
▼主厅顶部开设的28个圆形天窗向上凹去，当阳光偏斜时显现为平面的光点，当阳光投射时则可形成密集的“光雨” The 28 circular skylights at the top of the main hall are recessed upwards, appearing as flat spots of light when the sunlight is oblique, and as dense “rain of light” when the sunlight is direct.
▼主厅的佛像主要由木材、石材等密实不透的材质雕刻，当光线映射于此，佛像光影清晰，并随日照偏移不断变化 The Buddha statues in the main hall are mainly carved from dense materials such as wood and stone, and when the light hits them, the light and shadow of the statues constantly change according to the angle of sunlight.
The one-story space connected to the south of the main hall is the “dark room”. We opened two square skylights of different sizes at the top of the dark room and a horizontal strip window at the bottom of one wall. Compared to the main hall, the light in the dark room is more diffuse and hazy, so the Buddha statues in the dark room are made of transparent materials such as glaze and jade. Under the reflection of light and shadow, the edges of the Buddha’s image are blurred, sometimes resulting in a Zen state of “rainbowing”.
▼主厅南侧有门洞通往一层“暗室”，以颇具秩序感的方式来区隔明暗 On the south side of the main hall, doorways lead to the one-story “dark room” that separates the light from the dark in an orderly fashion.
▼相较主厅，暗室中的光线更为散漫朦胧 Compared to the main hall, the light in the dark room is more diffuse and hazy.
▼暗室中的佛像使用了琉璃、玉石等较通透材质，当光影从罅隙中淡淡散落，佛像的边缘随之虚化，有时会产生“虹化”的禅境 The Buddha statues in the dark room are made of transparent materials such as glaze and jade. Under the reflection of light and shadow, the edges of the Buddha’s image are blurred, sometimes resulting in a Zen state of “rainbowing”.
At different times of the day throughout the year, by “capturing” the light, the invisible time is also revealed. Time flows silently, elaborating the artistic conception of “eternal” and “constant” together with the Buddha statues settled here.
▼空间细部 Details of the space.
玉兰树下的净土之旅 Journey to the Pure Land under the Magnolia Tree
When we first surveyed the site, we were amazed by the huge magnolia tree on the east side of the building. At that time, we did not identify the tree species, but just protect the tree as much as possible during the design process to make it a landmark for the entire project. However, when the design is completed and half of the construction is finished, the magnolia tree which is the same age as the site blossomed inadvertently. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the fragrant aroma of magnolia could still be felt even indoors.
▼与基地同龄的玉兰树 The magnolia tree is the same age as the site.
After the renovation, the magnolia tree is like a dharma-vessel of the ” The Field “. The simple building forms became more obscured under the cover of the dense canopy. The renovation of the windows and doors alongside the street facade enclosed the internal spaces, adding a bit of intriguing interest to the architecture.
▼改造完成后，这棵玉兰树就像“极乐场”的法器一般巍然庄重 After the renovation, the magnolia tree is like a dharma-vessel of the ” The Field “.
▼沿街立面门窗“避虚就实”的改造，为整栋建筑添了几分引人探究的趣味 The renovation of the windows and doors alongside the street facade enclosed the internal spaces, adding a bit of intriguing interest to the architecture.
Guided by the magnolia tree, visitors bypass the wall and enter the exhibition hall through the revolving door under the canopy. After arriving at a low foyer, the space automatically guided the circulation into the double-height exhibition hall by the “rain of light” formed by the arrays of round skylights. There is a floor-to-ceiling windows on one side of the main hall connecting to the courtyard, blurring the boundary between indoors and outdoors as much as possible. On the south side of the main hall, four doorways lead to the one-story “dark room” that separates the light from the dark in an orderly fashion.
▼在玉兰树的引导下，参观者绕过墙体，通过树下的旋转门进入展厅 Guided by the magnolia tree, visitors bypass the wall and enter the exhibition hall through the revolving door under the tree.
▼玉兰树下的主入口 The entrance under the Magnolia tree.
▼一侧的落地窗与室外庭院相连，尽可能的去模糊室内外的边界 There is a floor-to-ceiling windows on one side of the main hall connecting to the courtyard, blurring the boundary between indoors and outdoors as much as possible.
▼落地窗模糊了展厅与庭院的边界 floor-to-ceiling windows.
In one corner of the main exhibition hall, a spiral staircase leads vertically upward to the roof terrace, where the magnolia tree is just close at hand reach, and the fragrance of leaves and flowers welcomes you.
▼主展厅一隅有一段垂直向上的旋转楼梯，拾级而上便可到达屋顶露台 In one corner of the main exhibition hall, a spiral staircase leads vertically upward to the roof terrace.
▼露台与玉兰树咫尺相望 On the roof terrace, the magnolia tree is just close at hand reach.
▼旋转楼梯出口 The exit of the spiral staircase.
▼旋转楼梯细部 Details of the spiral staircase.
An outdoor staircase was added to a corner of the terrace to connect the Buildings 2 and 3. To improve the sense of space and transparency in the office area, we removed the thick elevator shaft walls and added a skylight at the top of the stairwell. A vertical stairwell with changing light and shadow leads down to the fashion showrooms and workshops on the first and second floors of the office building.
▼露台的一角新设了一段室外直梯，用以连接2号楼和3号楼办公区 An outdoor staircase was added to a corner of the terrace to connect the Buildings 2 and 3.
▼旋转楼梯和圆形阵列天窗 The spiral staircase and arrayed circular skylights.
▼我们拆除了原本厚重的电梯井墙体，并在楼梯间顶部增设了天窗 We removed the thick elevator shaft walls and added a skylight at the top of the stairwell.
▼3号楼办公区 Office area in Building 3.
The entire building is connected as the “magnolia tree – Buddha statues and light – roof terrace – office space – fashion showroom – magnolia tree” route, forming a cyclical circulation in and out the building. The magnolia tree guides and speaks within the circulation, which is both the start and the end of it.
难点与不足 Difficulties and shortcomings
This project has been limited by construction cost and craftsmanship since the very beginning. Both we and the client agreed that we should design according to the existing site condition. Therefore, it has created a vitality of “rough” in the building and space, which is in contrast to the exquisiteness of the Buddha statue.
▼建筑于此，仅仅是承载佛像与容纳佛学精义的媒介，是佛在俗世中的一处“居所” The building is merely an intermedium to carry the Buddha statues and contain the essence of Buddhism, and is a “residence” for Buddha in the mundane world.
The exterior of the building and the interior of the Buddha statue exhibition hall (most of the spaces such as ceilings, walls, etc.) use a texture paint. However, there is no suitable supplier for this texture paint in the local area. In order to achieve the final effect, the client, the constructors and us conducted repeated trials and proofing on the site. Finally, all the special textures of the outdoor and indoor walls were hand-painted by the workers. The finished texture effect makes the three buildings, which were relatively independent and with different facade languages, regain the remarkable integrity and recognition. Unfortunately, the exhibition hall was original with the same ceiling, floor and wall, which can make the light and Buddha statues in the space more prominent, but due to construction time issue, the floor was changed into dark gray emery floor that is the same as the office area.
▼为了保证最终效果，业主方、施工方与我们一起在场地上进行了反复试验和打样 In order to achieve the final effect, the client, the constructors and us conducted repeated trials and proofing on the site.
In addition, due to the complex urban contexts, after the completion of the building, we found many interesting “accidents”: the original austere meeting room turned pink under the reflection of the red building outside the window; the simple gray window frames looked like purple under the influence of the outside environment. The client eventually decided to keep all these “accidents”, he believes this is also an interpretation of the meaning of “Elysium”.
▼原本檀黄色的墙体在旁边红色建筑的映射下变为了粉色 The original sandalwood yellow wall turned pink under the reflection of the red building across the street.
Speaking of the purpose of creating the ” The Field “, the client hopes to create something fundamentally, such as the visual innovation of Buddha statues. Therefore,” The Field ” is aiming to innovate the space, and in this way, it would be able to present some new experiences and insights in the fields of faith.
▼夜晚的玉兰树 The magnolia tree at night.
▼夜晚建筑鸟瞰 Night view.
▼建筑外立面改造前后对比 Comparison before and after renovation of building facade.
▼建筑内部改造前后对比 Comparison before and after renovation of interior.
▼一、二、三层平面图 The first, second and third floor plans.
▼东、南立面图 The east, south elevations.
▼A-A、B-B剖面图 The A-A, B-B sections.
Function: Exhibition, Office & Retail
Design Period: 2019.11-2020.02
Construction Period: 2020.02-2020.06
Location: Xiamen, Fujian, China
Building Area: 842SQM
Architects: Xiao Lei, Yang Yuqiong, Lin Wenjun, Wang Han
Type: Architecture and Interior
Photographs: Jonathan Leijonhufvud
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