French-Californian practice Sériès et Sériès has shared with us its entry to Taiwan's Taichung City Cultural Center competition (previously on Bustler). The design team's engineering partner was Buro Happold.
Project Description from the Architects:
It is our view that urban interventions of minimal environmental impact and high visibility have the power to shift the perceptions of a neighborhood and hopefully shift common thought into the realm of what has never been done before, or what could be done.
We believe that the key to a successful cultural center lies in the ability of the built environment to inspire its residents to look beyond the common, the materialistic and the easily consumed in favor of the stimulating, the daring and the whimsical. Only with this premise may we start to break our old habits and consider radically new, more environmentally conscious ways of living. The approach we took in designing the Taichung Fine Arts Museum and Library was to create a sustainable landmark.
To become a landmark this project adopts a form that resists easy classification to free-associate with successive symbols of the industrial, the utilitarian, the abstract, and the poetic. It combines maximum artistry with maximum efficiency. Given its location and placement, the figure of the building takes a geometrical stand in relation to the surroundings and creates a microcosm of the natural environment within public space, a reference to the natural landscape of Taiwan, an island known for its various altitudes and diverse microclimates. The effect of the cultural center continues with simple building materials. The main facades are clad in a basic grid of square metal mesh panels distorted with perlin noise, then coated with spray-crete, creating the appearance of stone. The stone like panels are hung in front of a curtain wall substrate. With seams minimized, the effect is a continuous stone plane. Selected programmatic functions then break into the facade and carve into the rocky volume. On the exterior, these interruptions in the facade are demarcated to evoke curiosity rather than to simply mark the grand lobby-as if there were a fault in the earth.
With these strategies invoked, the center becomes a destination affording a view, an overview, and insight into activities of the city and its natural habitat at this select location. The center will be a sustainable global gateway that represents Taiwan’s cultural progress, innovation, and modern commerce.
Find also diagrams of the scheme in the image gallery below.