The competition brief called for a major exhibition space that would link a series of client office spaces; further programme included a hotel, conference centre, restaurant, parking and transport amenities.
The various uses are arranged around a ground level central landscaped axis combining existing terrain features with landscape design. The patios and terraces become the thresholds between the various programmes. The North building will house exhibition spaces, media rooms and multi-occupancy offices, whilst the retail spaces, restaurants and conference centre of the South building host places to meet, socialize and do business.
Adjacent to these buildings is a hotel and wellness spa with uninterrupted vistas across the landscape. A later phase will include belvedere-style commercial buildings available for smaller businesses and enterprise.
The ascending site is adjacent to one of Dali’s historic city gates; overall height was kept to a maximum of three stories, reducing the visual impact at such a prominent site within the city.
The building steps to suit the natural change in levels, offering best use of the generous views across the Yunnan hillsides and minimizing landscape interruptions. The building mass splays into the landscape, alternating interior spaces and green spaces, creating easily accessible patios and shaded terraces for users and visitors.
Marcel Holmberg, partner-in-charge at PWD, focused his academic and professional works on the preservation of the coastline in his native Chile, which was often eroded by irresponsible design and construction; “When designing in a natural environment, the architect’s sensibility is called into play. Maintaining the correct scale in relationship with the landscape is not an easy task and certainly not always viable, it’s not the place for unthoughtful interventions.”
This first phase of development was primarily designed in section, working with the pervading gradient of the site whilst creating buildings best proportioned for the most efficient use of daylight and natural ventilation; generous single-height commerce and cultural spaces are connected by double and triple height interior lobbies.
The overall building massing has been kept simple, with a pared back façade that frames views towards the unique Yunnan landscape and offers a backdrop of clean lines for exterior courtyards and event spaces.
The building form appears as a series of stacked bars, anchored to the terrain by strong cores wrapped in local stone; the stacked bars have timber and aluminum façades, working with the client brief for a modern and creative building.
The design from PWD aims to create diverse interior and exterior spaces of great quality, considerably enhanced by landscaped areas that have an intimate relationship with nature; for a better environment for all building users.
The building design has been approved for construction and is set to be finished in 2016.