Patch-City Pavilion / ROOI Design and Research
Patch-City Pavilion. The project is located at an old quarter in Guangzhou. An former primary school was once situated there, surrounded by many run-down residential buildings and apartments. The school moved away many years ago as a result of the urban modernization, and traditional market place cultures in nearby communities are disappearing. The current owner of the school building is inland Guangzhou. In order to integrate urban modernization with historical features and develop new urban street market to revitalize old communities, the client entrusts ROOI to take charge of the temporary transformation and build a landmark Pavilion as a center for street market, music festivals, product launch, cultural activities, etc.
Patch-City Pavilion is a project of cultural renaissance for old buildings. The client wants to transform it into a cultural site, centering around an adaptable physical space. It can be a temporary venue for local residents to carry out diverse activities and be used as a platform for diverse cultural exchange. By means of moderate intervention with no damage to the original environment, ROOI introduces new elements to integrate old ones, and create a new space like an enclosed yard. People can chat and enjoy natural scenes in the yard where some cultural activities can be carried out.
A simple but precise way is used for the transformation process from material utilization to structural design, helping people appreciate new information displayed on old buildings more easily. We adopt a structure identical to the urban interface of Guangzhou and used a box form to portray this idea abstractly. Instead of imposing violent intrusion, the intervention extends the life of the original venue and forms a new harmonious relationship. In the process of China’s urbanization, too many old buildings have been demolished and rebuilt without thorough consideration. Many old places we once lived in take on a brand-new look, with modern styles, however it has lost the dynamic connection between people.
Project Concept. The growth of Guangzhou is characterized by adding new things to old ones, thus accumulating a huge collection of imagination and memories. Urban development seems to be a process of constant patching and improving. Based on this historical feature, the concept of Patch-City project is proposed. This artifact keeps extending with a process of evolution for old buildings. Patch-City Pavilion will also be gradually demolished and recycled in the future. It will become furniture in people’s houses or be transformed into other objects in places where they are needed.
While looking like an incomplete building, it has all basic components of a building. It can be described as walls, pillars or windows, the black and white tiles ground are from the former venue. As basic components of a building, the walls and pillars have dialogues with the surroundings. The venue functions as a theater for showcase of events and emotions, where various stories unfold.
The building has a symmetric shape of an isosceles trapezoid and displays a pose of encircling arms. However, the arrangements of the modules are abstract and diverse. Besides, this building is set up at a place that connects the square in front with the yard behind. A tree growing behind the building constitutes a perfect match for this temporary structure, providing a natural sunshade. In addition, a rear exit is designed for this building because the tree behind it and plants in the yard are beautiful and add vitality to this venue. There are no primary and secondary roles in this project. We hope that from this project, people can discover natural beauty that is inconspicuous in ordinary life.
An open traffic flow is designed to connect the external city roads, allowing visitors to pass through the building to reach the backyard. This traffic flow is designed as part of the internal space as well as the city’s public space. It is inclusive and suitable for various activities and life styles.
Construction Process. “This is a very interesting process of playing with ‘building blocks’. Impromptu adjustments to these modules can be done on-site while they are handled by a light hoist operator. Thus, stories here will be more interesting, providing strong narrative in numerous vivid scenes. The 98 boxes set the scenes for 98 stories, giving rise to rich relationships between the characters, and making people feel as if they were in a theater”, said Zuoqian Wang, founder of ROOI Design and Research. The Pavilion is composed of 98 preformed modules. Chevron boards are used as the main material, its light weight enables installation without heavy machine and minimizes the use of steel structures at the same time, it is highly weathering resistant suitable for long-term outdoor use. It can be assembled with a light hoist in 12 hours.
Patch-Café. Version 2 modules of the Patch-City series were used for a second construction experiment Patch-Cafe at an empty hall of a mall in Guangzhou. The construction of Patch-Cafe requires only few works to simply pile the boxes together with nuts and bolts, which dramatically reduces the construction costs and time. Patch-Cafe is a further experiment for the Patch-City modules, with flexible modifications. There is no building in a city that can suit all needs, and each of them needs to be complemented by another building, infrastructure or space. Patch-Cafe is a complement to the commercial space of the building. A space that acts like a theater, it integrates the cafe space, retail space and property sale office, at the same time it also allows flexible arrangements for various cultural activities. For instance, mortise-tenon structure chairs may be easily placed around the central island of the cafe for any shows. Viewed from a series of small windows outside, it is like a lively drama on a stage.
This design further enriches and complements the functions and artistry of the venue. Modules can be added or reduced, giving full play to the limited public space of the mall. For different activities, the walls, central island, tables and chairs can be moved and arranged freely. At the end of the service cycle, the modules can be transported to other commercial centers and assembled to suit the practical purposes.