A first look at the Xi’an Jiao tong-Liverpool University gives one flashbacks to the Taihu Stone, the ubiquitous limestone natural sculpture found in traditional Chinese gardens.

Arch2o-Xi'an Jiao tong-Liverpool University-Aedas (6)

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The Taihu stone is naturally sculptured by wind and running water, hence the irregular voids carved in the sides give it a serene natural look.

Arch2o-Xi'an Jiao tong-Liverpool University-Aedas (2)

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The Xi’an Jiao tong-Liverpool University seeks its formal inspiration from this concept of voids within a whole albeit in this context as a result not of forces of nature but of man.

Arch2o-Xi'an Jiao tong-Liverpool University-Aedas (1)

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The university is located in the Suzhou Industrial Park with a vision to build a world-class facility to train highly professional experts. The site is located at a convergence point of beautiful natural environment in harmony with the city of Suzhou’s rich cultural heritage and the rapid economic development.

Arch2o-Xi'an Jiao tong-Liverpool University-Aedas (3)

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The building will house the Administration and information centre of the university providing spaces for an administration centre, learning and resources centre, training centre and student activities centre. All these spaces are linked together by the voids creating a unique whole.

Arch2o-Xi'an Jiao tong-Liverpool University-Aedas (5)

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The voids not only serve as a link within the building but also without as they are functional. The interior spaces of the building interact with the south summer winds through the void on one of its southeast side. This interaction provides for natural ventilation during these hot summers. The green roof system is also a sustainable strategy employed with horizontal louvres on the facades to control light and solar gain.

Like the Taihu stone the building sits on a raised platform, which will house the student activities centre dominating the landscape.

 By Hassan Mohammed Yakubu

Courtesy of Aedas

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