Archi-Union’s neighborhood center features a ‘cloud eye’ roof offering panoramic views

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Neighborhood Center

The Linpan Cloud Eye: Chengdu Dayi Rural Neighborhood Center, built by Archi-Union Architects, is an iconic rural community center design that combines traditional aspects with modern innovation, and it began in May 2022.

This neighborhood center is located in the gorgeous Qingxia Town of Dayi, and a stream enters the site from the east, surrounded by dense bamboo forest. The major consideration was effortlessly integrating the new facility into the current landscape. The design team chose to preserve the bamboo forest and build a tiny courtyard that reflects the landscape and surrounding environment.

Neighborhood Center

This courtyard consists of different levels of recreational areas and viewing terraces that run along the vertical mountain cliffs. The courtyard, tucked between the bamboo forest and the mountain, reminds one of the “forest plate” in western Sichuan, evoking simplicity and natural beauty. From the roof’s opening, the view of the mountains spreads outward, where the roof acts as a window that connects the inner and outer landscapes. The ‘Cloud Eye’ unique feature offers panoramic vistas that connect the interior with the surrounding landscapes. This concept, combined with the ‘Forest Plate’ design philosophy, blurs the distinction between man-made structures and natural landscapes, redefining rural community center design.

The overall form of the building is derived from the undulating mountains behind it, which extend and fold along a vertical pattern in space. The lines between “inside and outside,” “roof and facade,” and “top and ground” are blurred by geometric topology, producing a sense of a non-directional space. The roof is ripped apart at the second and third levels to create shading for the facade and terrace, respectively, establishing the relationship between “being seen” and “seeing” through geometric alterations of the entire structure.

The ground-floor entry does not face the external road; instead, pedestrians have to follow the bamboo fence to reach the courtyard entrance. The flowing roof acts as the entrance canopy, and the outdoor platforms on the second and third levels overlap vertically in this space. From the peaceful and relaxing external space of the courtyard to the central area at the building’s entrance, the progressive spatial movement gently shifts from motion to stillness.

The first level has considerable elevated portions, allowing the building to appear suspended over the bamboo forest. The roof structure on the second level slopes downwards, creating a separate functional zone for the community center that allows for a variety of activities. The third level is an open outdoor space, completely accessible to nature and the surrounding environment. The platform offers views of the creek and campground to the south, as well as the mountain behind the structure itself.

The structural design of the “cloud eye” follows a design rationale that is consistent with the structure’s form. The curve form is used to find the three equivalent circular steel beams, resulting in an evenly distributed connecting beam generated digitally. Then, all curves are rationalized into straight lines while maintaining accuracy, which significantly reduces processing costs. As a result, the roof section provides a cohesive structural cover.

The Linpan Cloud Eye blends locally available materials and traditional workmanship and adheres to sustainable rural community center design principles. This technique benefits local economies and lends a distinctive, culturally rich character to the structure. The project highlights cutting-edge construction techniques, such as 3D-printed parts and sophisticated design algorithms. The use of digital technology in rural community center design lays the path for future rural development initiatives. The Linpan Cloud Eye is more than just a building; it serves as a model for future rural neighborhood center, blending cultural depth, environmental awareness, and technological innovation. Archi-Union Architects has set a new standard for rural communities by demonstrating that they can be hubs of connection, culture, and innovation.

Project Info

Architects: Archi-Union Architects
Area: 868 sqm
Year: 2022
Photographs: Ke Wang
Architect: Philip F. Yuan (Tongji University)
Design Team: Weizhe Gao, Bei Zhang, Yuan Zhang, Kang Liu (Architecture); Tao Huang, Zejiu Chen, Peng Cheng (Structure); Dawei Wei, Yong Wang (Mechanical and Electrical); Ju Wang, Xiaying Lu (Interior)
Digital Construction Technology: Shanghai Fab-union Technology Co., Ltd
Developer: KWG Group Holdings Limited
Location: Chengdu, China

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