Designed by HY Architecture, Chengdu Sky Courts is a contemporary and sustainable exhibition hall that comes to life to house international exhibitions that receive nothing less than a refreshing and contributory ambiance.
As you stand outside the Sky Courts Exhibition Hall, located in the International Intangible Culture Park in Chengdu, China, a unique structure built of concrete, locally produced bricks and corten steel instantly catch your attention. The one-of-a-kind building designed by HY Architecture captures the essence of a cultural building cum exhibition hall, buzzing with people and their exhibits that deserve nothing less than a similar complementary structure to showcase their best work.
With a total floor area of 67,000 sq.ft. HY Architecture has neatly structured a traditional Chinese courtyard house to identify varied sections at the Hall for aggregated exhibition galleries that come together under one roof. Seven courtyards house several halls that blend into a contemporary space to support a setting to exhibit and integrate, while having a personal and potentially budding space.
The benefit of having a spacious building area was smartly tapped through multiple paths that join and separate the sections amidst the complex, all at the same time. The centre of each courtyard has a square-shaped geometry while the overall perimeter of the building supports the irregular site boundaries, thus structuring the building in a compact yet spacious manner.
The brickwork at Sky Courts can be seen at almost every corner of the building, and definitely on the exterior walls. The detailed usage of the locally produced grey bricks has added substance to the structure while brilliantly supporting the geometries of the building.
It is interesting to know that each brick is oriented in the same direction, regardless of the oblique angle of the perimeter walls. It creates quite an oriented texture that gives an effect of clashing yet blending of two extremes, in terms of the material and placement, besides a philosophical connotation.
The architects at HY Architecture have ensured to highlight the roof of Sky Courts in an exclusive manner that amazes one to marvel at the series of sloping roofs that add so much value to the entire complex. The out-of-the-box concept of the roof creating peaks and valleys further defines the very concept of establishing a unique character for a space through designing with such detailing.
Every roof plane has a hyperbolic ruled surface through the inwards slanting ridge lines and the tolerance between each tile unit is marvellously seized with the help of the ceramic roof tiles.
The focus of HY Architecture has always been to build environment friendly spaces that innovate and create an engaging community. And Sky Courts is definitely a designer yet sustainable structure that encompasses all the necessities to welcome an environment conscious space with open arms.
Thermal mass and day lighting were given much thought during the phase of designing strategy besides which cross ventilation has definitely been an integral factor to in order to create a passively cooled building. The ventilation encircles the interior and exterior region, including the courtyard spaces, with the help of operable windows positioned on the perimeter wall to create cross ventilation through the sliding doors of the courtyards.
Abundance of daylight throughout the perimeter of the arena not only gives a feeling of an open and airy space, but also reduces the need for electric lighting during quite a few hours of the day. A significant amount of thermal mass has also been created with the help of the concrete and brick infill walls that regulate temperature swings throughout the day.
The expansive area definitely calls for innumerable windows that support the exhibition hall in more ways than one. Though economical and typical window and door sizes have been used, including local construction strategies, materials and techniques, these very components have been mastermind in making the space rich with contemporary yet old school aesthetics.
A dash of flexible and sustainable ingredients have been instrumental in giving the Exhibition Hall an effect of a unique, cultural venue that supports the environment in a realistic way and welcomes its visitors for nothing less than a visual treat, for starters.
Text By Namrata Joshi
Photograph Courtesy Höweler + Yoon Architecture and Yihaui Hu