Location + Site
The project is in a company town named Tuopai Zhen in Sichuan where the distillery of Shede, an old liquor brand in China, is based. The closest large cities are Chengdu and Chongqing, both are approximately 200 kilometers away. Partially due to its relatively quiet location, Tuopai Zhen seems to maintain both the ambience of an industrial town and a rural village before the economic reform that was commenced in China in the late 1970’s. The specific site for this visitor’s center is situated in front of the production campus of Shede near a main thoroughfare with a park and a river on the other side.
For tourists, the visitor’s center is the prelude before departing for a tour of the Shede distilling facilities and has a well-mixed program, including a museum for liquor culture, a hotel, a dining theater, a R&D center, among others.
After much study, we come to realize the reasons why vacationists would come to Tuopai Zhen have to do not only with the famous liquor but also with the pristine natural landscape as well as the tranquil feeling of the locale. Our design intends to preserve these qualities that attract the people trying to get away from the hustles and bustles of the metropolises. While the building complex of the visitor’s center serves as a connection-transition between the Shede campus and the woodsy landscape, the architecture of the center is spatially organized as a series of smaller pavilions with central courtyards arranged in a linear fashion and its formal language is based on a low-key vernacular vocabulary of deep eaves and wood-paneled walls.
The cross-section of the typical pavilion resembles that of an umbrella with beam-less concrete roof cantilevering out from the center. The thickness of the sloping roof canopy changes gradually, thin at the eaves and thick at the base, where the air-conditioning ductworks are concealed.