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Steven Holl Architects gets Approval for New Cultural and Health Center in Shanghai

Steven Holl Architects’ proposal for a Health and Cultural Center in Fengxian District in Shanghai has finally gained approval by the Chinese food processing company COFCO, which has commissioned the project in Summer 2016. The project is composed of two buildings located on a public park along the Punan canal. It is supposed to act as a gathering point for the community dwelling in the new surrounding houses. Steven Holl says about that: “To work on Architecture for Culture and Health is a social commitment, during these challenging times”

Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

The concept revealed by Steven Holl Architects for this project is “Clouds & Time,” in reference to Austrian-British philosopher Karl Popper’s “Of Clouds and Clocks.” The concept was translated into architecture by shaping the landscape into clock-like circular forms surrounding the cloud like-buildings. To resemble clouds both buildings are made of White Concrete with various shaped voids. According to the designers, the cloud-like “porosity and openness” shall be inviting to the public.

Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

The Cultural Center’s building has a glass base which, along with the white concrete envelope, gives an impression of a floating cloud. There is also a sense of continuity induced by a curved ramp emerging from the landscape up to the second floor of the building. As for the Health Center building, it was shaped by the surrounding landscape, making the clock-cloud relationship even more clear. The Cultural Center shall encourage social interaction between community members by including spaces like an exhibition area, library, gym, café, youth activity areas, and game rooms. On the other hand, the Health Center will be providing services like health consultation and education. It will include consultation and examination rooms, educational zones, a pharmacy, a nursery, and lounges.

Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

This project is intended to gain a Platinum LEED certificate for its sustainability. Besides its green sedum roofs, which merges the buildings with the surrounding landscape, there is the central quarter-circle pool which functions as a storage for rainwater. There is, also, the geothermal cooling system inside the building. All of which shall save energy and reduce the building impact on the environment.

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