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China Academy of Art
Amateur Architecture Studio

September 24, 2012 /

Zhuantang Town, Hangzhou City, China

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Photo: Iwan Baan

The China Academy of Art campus is located on the outskirts of Hangzhou. Completed in two phases the new campus is built around the 50 meter high knoll Xiangshan, and is surrounded by two streams originating from a river to the west of Xiangshan, which converge in the eastern end of the knoll.

Phase I of the campus is located towards the north of the knoll whereas Phase II is located towards the south, making  Xiangshan the visual focal point for the two groups of buildings. The basic architectural types are sensible to fast and large scale constructions, but changes in design were frequent and spontaneous during construction.

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Photo: Iwan Baan

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An important aspect of the design is the "free" concept. This "free" concept is not just about its architectural forms, but its sensitive response to the site and nature./Wang Shu, Lu Wenyu

The Chinese character for "enclose" was the theme of the buildings, with courtyards and gardens being a very important aspect. These enclosed spaces serve many purposes for each building - for events, gatherings, class, relaxation and even for climate control to help encourage ventilation and a micro climate. The choice of themes is directed by traditional construction culture and its continuation: Garden making, construction, differentiation, material recycling and reuse.

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As the sloping, twisting, and turning occurs on the site, the building twists and transforms accordingly, thus addresses uniformity and variation at the same time.

Each building was carefully designed based on its purpose and location with regard for views, breezes, the sun and its relationship to the rest of the campus. Horizontal sunscreens emphasizes the horizontal extension of the corresponding mountain range and help shield the sun from the interior. Skylights pull light in through the interior. Huge cedar wood doors let in additional light.

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Photo: Iwan Baan

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Stone bases use a local method that is traditionally used in the local tea field construction. This was a symbolic gesture representing the rooting of the school in the surroundings.  A wall is comprised of a collection of recycled old bricks and roof tiles of 20 different dimensions.  The handrails are a painted steel frame with an in-fill of timber strips.

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Photo: Iwan Baan

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Photo: Iwan Baan

A large collection of over two millions pieces of tiles of different ages and sizes, salvaged from the traditional houses demolished all over the province of Zhejiang, cover the roofs of the campus buildings.

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Photo: Iwan Baan

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Photo: Iwan Baan

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Established in 1928, the China Academy of Art is the first comprehensive art academy in China committed to integrating eastern and western art in its curriculum, while creating contemporary art according to the principles of Chinese culture.
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Drawing courtesy Amateur Architecture StudioSite Plan

The buildings include six academic and workshop buildings, a workshop tower, a library, a gallery, a small stadium, two hillside art studios, and two traditional style bridges crossing the river.

Facts about China Academy of Art

Site Area:

133,000 m2
Project Size: 67.000 m2

Phase I completed: 2004
Phase II completed: 2007

Architects:

Amateur Architecture Studio 
Design: Wang Shu, Lu Wenyu
Collaborating Firm: Ye-Yu Architectural Design Studio/CAA
Collaborating Firm: CCA/Landscape Design Company

Photographed by Iwan Baan

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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