Stellar Isle features an aerial landscape with accessible and interconnected spaces

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Stellar Isle

Designed by SpActrum, Stellar Isle is located in the heart of the Chaichanglong (Fairy Li) urban regeneration area in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, China. The building emerges as an architectural marvel that stands as the region’s largest and most distinctive cultural leisure building. This site, nestled within the Chaichanglong complex, represents the first organic urban renewal area in the historic old town of Shaoxing.

Surrounded by the former residence of revolutionary legend Qiu Jin, the Xianheng Hotel to the east, and Pagoda Hill to the north, Chaichanglong has undergone a five-year transformation, evolving into a comprehensive cultural, commercial, and tourist district.

Stellar Isle

During their initial site visit of the SpActrum team, Chaichanglong revealed itself as a complex tapestry where buildings from different eras coexist unordered yet authentic. SpActrum approached history as a linear progression of time and a continuous spatial experience. Unlike relying solely on heritage markers for preservation or demolition decisions, the team viewed both ordinary and “heritage” buildings as integral components of the site. Material presence on the site became the reliable text, creating a sense of time akin to the continuous layers of geological strata.

Sitting on the southern axis of Chaichanglong, Stellar Isle replaces a former four-story brick-and-concrete building that once dominated the entire site. However, structural assessments deemed its preservation unsafe, leading the design team to embark on this unique journey. Instead of crafting a conventional building, they envisioned a three-dimensional site capable of reshaping the spatial structure of the entire regeneration project. The objective was to construct an aerial landscape that seamlessly connects different eras of the site and the city, achieving a harmonious synchronicity between the past and the present.

Stellar Isle
Stellar Isle

Designed as an accessible and interconnected space with robust multi-path elements, Stellar Isle transforms into a beautiful design landscape. The central concept, “Layered Grounds,” sees different levels overlapping, creating a complex interplay of walking and viewing spaces. Here, architecture becomes about the site, where buildings and surroundings intertwine rather than clash. Stellar Isle doesn’t exist in isolation; it becomes a dynamic locale, an activity hub imbued with a sense of uncertainty. In this space, the building dissolves, and the site rises.

Upon completion, Stellar Isle proudly stands as a significant local landmark at the southern side of the site’s central axis. The building’s northern side is a rectangular block featuring long foldable sliding doors on each floor that transform the structure into a continuous open space when the doors are opened. Meanwhile, the southern side boasts walkable terraced surfaces encircling the central void space, while the eastern side introduces a series of layered, sloping walkways designed as gentle steps. These steps fold upwards to create multiple viewing platforms at heights of 6 meters and 9.5 meters.

Stellar Isle

Although Stellar Isle’s interior space is modest, approximately 1,000 square meters, its terraces, walkways, and outward-looking spaces position it as the ideal vantage point to appreciate the entire site and the city. The unfolding panorama showcases Ming and Qing dynasty courtyards, Republican-Era dwellings, 1970s-1980s apartments, and old factory buildings connected by stepped walkways, forming a multi-layered, multi-dimensional tapestry of the site.

Stellar Isle epitomizes a thoughtful blend of history, innovation, and fluid design. It stands not just as a building but as a testament to the evolving narrative of Chaichanglong, a place where the past and present dance together in harmony.

Project Info

Architects: SpActrum
Area: 1658 sqm
Year: 2022
Manufacturers: BeiLiDa, Jufeng
Lead Architects: Yan Pan
Design Team: Yan Pan, Zhen Li, Yimeng Tang, Ying Li, Hao Chen, Xianglong Meng, ShAil Paragkum Patel, Gregorio Soravito、Jinyu Wan
Engineering: Hangzhou Xiaoshan Guangyu Architectural Construction Ltd.
Landscape: PHOOO Design
Construction Design: China International Engineering Design & Consult Co.Ltd
Lighting Design: AT. AART Design
Cladding Consultant: COSPACE
Installation & Construction: Shaoxing Jiagu Construction Co., Ltd.
Fabrication: Hangzhou Yongye Steel Structure Materials Co., Ltd.
Program: Cultural Architecture, Public Architecture, Landscape & Urbanism
Clients: Shaoxing Historical and Cultural City Protection Office, New Century Cultural Tourism
Location: Shaoxing, China
Photographs: SHADØOPLAY, Shengliang Su

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