2017 SkyCity Challenge 17S0373 [ UK - POLAND ]
Artur Zakrzewski / Konrad Weka
WHAT IS A COURTYARD IN THE MIDDLE OF A VERTICAL SKYSCRAPER IN THE 21ST CENTURY?
The current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach, 9.8 billion in 2050 according to a United Nations report. With two-thirds of the world’s population expected to live in highly densified cities, access to the daylight and urban land are expected to become an increasingly limited resources.
Cities will face numerous challenges in meeting the needs of their growing urban population without compromising quality of life. Historically, a courtyard was a space inside or surrounded by a building complex, that was open to the sky. Siheyuan traditional housing unit offers a central open space for its occupants which servers similar function to European understanding of a courtyard, which means meeting place or open space. However in Chinese definition it is about connection with the ground and spirit of the earth which something a building lacks.
We believe that J57 is an example of the vertical traditional Siheyuan. By choosing nature category we wanted to re-define the connection to the nature through re-conceptualizing the elements of tree, earth and sky. We focused on a bamboo, one of the most sustainable and fastest growing plants on the planet. The history of Chinese people planting and using bamboo can be traced back 7,000 years and in traditional Chinese culture, bamboo is a symbol of virtue as it reflects people’s souls and emotions. This value becomes one of the major themes in Chinese painting, calligraphy and poetry. For thousands of years, generations of artists praised bamboo in the name of this spirit.
Transcending the limitations of the physical space of the courtyard through the use of one way mirrors was inspired by the artist Yayoi Kusama who since 1965 created various types of installations using the technique of Infinite mirrors, allowing her to create an endless visual multiplication of her sculptures and artwork.
As cities continue to expand we should start to consider greater use of spaces without visual and physical access to the building surroundings. By taking this as an opportunity we transcend the idea of nature by proposing an immersive environment where visitors feel as they would step into a fantasy world in another dimension. Infinite Landscape blurs the lines between physical and ethereal creating a harmonious, quiet and sensual space.
By using one way mirrors, bamboo are multiplied endlessly in space creating an experience of walking through a forest, a primary experience that connect dwellers with the earth. One way mirror allows those walking through the corridor to see inside the space while those inside see endless reflections.
Perforated ceiling panels letting the small percentage of the existing lighting through, create a visual effect of the stars in the galaxy, resembling an open sky in the traditional definition of a courtyard.
The sculptural manipulation of the bamboo flooring creates a dynamic landscape of endless wooden dunes, challenging the notions of art as landscape and landscape as art, inviting visitors to interact with it freely and organically.
We believe that in the future, nature and architecture would be singular, where building materials would derive completely from natural sources. The bamboo acts as a major element in the design; it connects the occupants to nature and constructs both the structure and surface of the landscape.
Bamboo apart from its symbolic meaning in Chinese culture, also have extremely impressing technical aspect ratio of flexibility and strength which makes it one of most common structural material used in China. However, only recently emerging technologies like hot press and glulam allow for more sophisticated, elegant and controlled use of it. The sophisticated curvature of a bamboo.