The Changan Canal project consists of a cluster of 20 clubhouses located in the precinct of Tongzhou, Beijing, next to the Great Canal connecting Beijing and Hangzhou. Atelier FCJZ was in charge of the design of six clubhouses. Given the large-scale, commercial nature of the project, we focused on the inside spaces of the buildings to resolve the issue of the close proximity of the neighboring houses. Rather than symbolic formal gestures, we sought to bring a heightened sense of refinement to the buildings.
In order to effectively address the need for day light, vertical slits was cut in the exterior walls to bring natural light into service spaces meanwhile to strengthen the integrity of the elevation by minimizing the number of apertures. Step-backs and cut-outs also created courtyards on upper levels.
Black lava stone was used as the primary material for the facade for its sound- and heat-insulating and anti-corrosive properties. The dark gray and textured surface proved durable; its modest cost provided cost advantage. Because a section of the historic city wall from Ming dynasty was unearthed on the project site, the dimensions of the facade components were made to match those of the bricks of the ancient wall. Different levels of the building were distinguished by manipulating the profiles of the lava stone blocks. In terms of construction, on the first floor, stone blocks were laid in the traditional brick layering manner; from the second floor upwards, stone blocks were clad on the surface of the building while the orientation of the blocks changed from one level to another.