Green Valley Art Center / Office of Scenic Architecture
Text description provided by the architects. Green Valley Art Center is located at the northeast end of Xuhui CBD Central Park, which is located east of Shanghai South Railway Station. It was designed with the vision to explore a dynamic experience of multiple interactions for public art activities. This landmark mega-farm structure provides continuous and transparent indoor and outdoor ground spaces for the park. An elevated gallery with ramps connects different functional areas at different heights, stimulating autonomous participation and dynamic communication between events.
The building is located on the eastern side of the site to keep it away from the area occupied by the first line of the subway and the elevated highway. From a technical point of view, this layout reduces construction complexity and avoids the risk of foundation subsidence that can be caused by subway lines and elevated highways. From a planning point of view, it preserves the integrity of the green belt on the west side of the site, turning the building into an art center surrounded by greenery. A landscape promenade that winds out of the business district of Shanghai South Railway Station with Metro Line 1 underneath is the backbone of the Xuhui CBD Central Park. From this landscape axis we extend a three-dimensional pedestrian circulation that passes through the interior and exterior spaces of the building and becomes an organizer of landscape, structural space and architectural form.
The park is dominated by a continuous grassy slope covered with a variety of tree species. The Landscape Walk runs through a wooded area on a gentle incline and reaches the northeast end of an amphitheater surrounded by architecture and landscape. As a pedestrian junction connecting Shanghai South Railway Station and Xujiahui, this amphitheater enhances the publicity of the art center and becomes the starting point of the landscape promenade. Due to the openness of the outdoor theater, audiences from all directions of the park can freely watch or participate in outdoor performances held in the amphitheater, where people can also enter the building’s welcoming lobby.
The main body of the building is a triangular truss structure that rises and falls. The truss is supported by only three points: the V-shaped steel columns at the southwest and northeast corners and a concrete core at the southeast corner. The trusses extend 50-60 meters in the east-west direction, which realizes the transparency of the lobby and ensures the continuity of indoor and outdoor spaces. The internal circulation, starting from the lobby, extends this continuity to all parts of the building. The gallery with a gentle 1:12 slope ramp is arranged round the outer boundary of the building, providing artists with strong guided exhibition spaces and new creative opportunities. Visitors can choose a top-down or reverse direction of the tour route and will feel a changing and varied spatial experience during the visit.
Surrounded by a gallery of ramps are the 500-seat conference hall with a restaurant above and a multi-purpose lobby and café on the ground floor. The slope of the conference hall floor is completed by four anti-dislocation supports that slope into the ground at the southeast corner along both sides, providing lateral support for the entire building and forming a unique V-shaped auditorium. Press conferences in the lobby, art events in the ramp gallery and TED lectures or small performances in the conference hall can form a functional addition and extension of social activities with catering in the large space. This functional and social interactivity extends all the way to the ramp roof garden above the ramp gallery: the roof garden can be accessed from the passageway at the northeast end of the showroom or from the elevator at the southeast corner. Stroll or host a cocktail party on such a sloping and curved terrace, people will immerse themselves in the open cityscape and be able to overlook the magnificent new skyline of the South Station business district. Through a walkway, these diverse activities are connected to continuous spaces that turn the building into an interactive experience.
Architecture is a trinity in space, structure and form. The truss structure that makes up the primary and secondary circulation spaces and the transparent atrium between them faithfully reflect the internal experience and naturally shape the distinctive appearance of the art center. As the gallery of ramps climbs up, one corner of the triangle volume rises in the southeast corner of the park and points in the direction of Xujiahui along the elevated Humin Highway, just like an “artistic weathervane”. We hope that this circulation-driven structure can not only provide a landmark for the Shanghai South Railway Station area, but also stimulate the vitality of cultural exchange with a rich dynamic space experience, presenting the spiritual connotation of a public art center.