The Nantou Urban Village of Shenzhen City holds a series of historical cores whose existence is increasingly precarious. Such a rapid expansion of the contemporary city forced the structure of this community-packed reminder of the past to be in danger of sinking. Activities such as biennale which are expected to be a place for cultural celebrations also seem useless because of course it takes a lot of costs to ensure sustainability.
Zhulang Huagai as a monumental structure in Nantou, Shenzhen. (Photo by Nader Tehrani)
Seeing these conditions, NADAAA in collaboration with Cooper Union proposed a resilient strategy that is able to solve raw infrastructure challenges, economic constraints, and flexibility of public spaces for various activities, programs, and events. As a result, Zhulang Huagai was born - a public space full of virtuous goals.
In the wishful thinking of NADAAA and Cooper Union, the project was originally projected as an installation for a city square that although vulnerable but as durable as possible. The goal is for this project to become part of an urban fabric and a civic structure that is well versed in serving the community.
The side of Zhulang Huagai directly opposite the town square.
However, due to the influence of local economic and labor factors during the construction process, the structure instead adopted a standard tube steel extrusion that allowed the change to a truly durable or enduring strategy. By translating the wall as a datum, the structure also applies a linear organization that forms a typology that has the power to activate edge conditions in a certain length; stoa, arcade, colonnade, or loggia.
A multifunctional space sheltered by Zhulang Huagai.
People can use the space of Zhulang Huagai to just rest or take shelter.
As a result, a volume clad in membranes stretched with a steel frame and further away from the ground towards the south becomes part of the cityscape that gives a monumental presence to the void. The white membrane also describes a space that accommodates hybrid behavior. In recent years, Zhulan Huagai has had many functions, namely as a place of protection from such a dynamic environment, a place of rest, and a center of activity for the community, even in informal conditions, it is also often used for parking lots for the surrounding community.
Zhulang Huagai when integrated became part of the community activities in the town square. (Photo by Yan Meng)