CIMIC Complex Architectural and Interior Design Introduction
Kenneth Grant Jenkins (郑克耐)
I’m honored to participate and introduce the architectural and interior design concept of the entire complex at such an important occasion.
The Heng Nan Shu Yuan Complex buildings are divided into the main building, which is flanked by two ancillary buildings the East Wing and the West Wing.
The overall architectural and interior design style continues key essential elements of the Suzhou Taihu Great Learning Center, while compressing the concept as required for a city campus as well as making several changes in various functional areas as is appropriate for the circumstances, as well as some notable stylist differences.
I.Site Planning and Overall Organization.
The Complex is composed of a main building, with two lower flanking side buildings forming a U-shaped central courtyard.
Complex faces south and overlooks a public green space and rivers which edge the site on the south and east sides.
The main entrance is from the south-west corner where the main gate house controls access to the center for both (non-service) vehicles and pedestrians.
The clock tower on the east wing ancillary building (Dong Lou) rises higher than the other lower buildings and welcomes visitors into the main courtyard.
It is edged by the main Loggia and is bordered by trees, plants and surrounds a central green lawn quadrangle area.
This academic campus like space is the central planning feature of the design.
It reflects the academic traditions of European and American Universities as may be found at many famous collegiate institutions.
In particular at both the Tai Hu Grand Learning Center and here the principal influences on the design of the main central quadrangle come from Thomas Jefferson’s Lawn at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville begun in 1817
The main concept of Thomas Jefferson’s campus (yes, the same Jefferson who was the author of the Declaration of Independence, and 3rd President of the United States) was to have a main building at the center and head of an expansive lawn with grass and trees and a series of smaller flanking buildings on both sides of the lawn connected with a covered walkway abutting the open space.
The main building sitting at the head of the lawn was Jefferson’s Library which was strongly influenced by the Pantheon in Rome. Under a circular coffered dome, crowned by a skylight (just as the Pantheon was lit centrally from an open oculus) was the university library which contained some treasured books and symbolized the center of learning for the university.
The walkway connected lower buildings of varying character and subtle design differences. Architecturally, it was something like a good dinner party where the guests were all accomplished, yet different and unique or like a family where the individuals each have their own unique characteristics while sharing a certain family resemblance….
This is the main planning inspiration for the Tai Hu Great Learning Center in Miao Gang and a similar concept is used here at CIMIC albeit on a more compacted city site. At Miao Gang, the influences are more Suzhou Gardens combined with Eurasian buildings; buildings designed with simplified Western classical proportions combined with Asian roof forms and traditional Suzhou inspired white, grey, black and red color scheme.
The building’s roof tiles are modeled on the roof tiles of the Hong Kong Government House, with the same tiles used here at Heng Nan Shu Yuan.
In Miao Gang, the 3 Main buildings surround a rectangular central courtyard and are connected with a Suzhou Garden inspired walkway.
Just as in the Suzhou Gardens, the walkways are quite varied with some portions of the walkway having only a roof supported by columns, where other locations have solid walls with windows or window openings on one side with columns on the other.
The pattern changes in order to focus attention to various spaces and elements and to create interest and variety in the special procession. At Heng Nan Shu Yuan, while following the Tai Hu Great Learning Center model, we have eliminated the spaces between the 3 buildings and linked them with a towering Loggia with western classical proportions and a simplified classical style.
II. Main building’s main space introduction：
1. Lobby area - including reception area, tea bar, meeting room, classroom and other functional areas
(1) The lobby is high 3-storey space detailed in an overall design of integrated Chinese and Western style (Eur-Asian sytle if you prefer). It features a towering arcade continuing the design style of the Loggia, allowing for a smooth transition between the interior and exterior spaces. While continuing the overall design theme of the Loggia, the architect makes elaborate treatment for walls, flooring pattern, ceiling wrought iron and other details, which articulate and embellish the lobby; reinforcing its position as the most important space on the ground floor of the campus.
(2) Tea bar design is integrated into the entire space of the lobby, and the walls reflect the Loggia’s Heng Nan Shu Yuan tile and stainless steel design theme, a floating ceiling plane, modulates and distinguishes the various spaces; spotlights are arranged at the ceiling above the seats, to avoid excessive light exposure, with a relaxed environment being created overall;
(3) The meeting room and classrooms are functionally-based, with simple design and enjoying bright natural light from the high windows at the first floor;
(4) Corridors at the public area on the second floor are completely open design, and stand on the second floor, the whole lobby space can be seen, and Shimen arch is used to join up storey 1 and storey 2 in the whole, and wrought iron handrails continue the design theme of the main staircase.
(5) The main staircase of the Main Building is inspired by traditional western architectural staircases (principally French) where the staircase is wide and gentle in its pitch allowing for ease of climbing. This encourages people to actually use the stairs instead of the elevators which is better for health and the environment (as less usage of the elevators saves electricity). The center of the stair is open and allows for a bright and airy environment as well as visually connecting all the major floors of the building.
2. The 6th floor is dedicated as Teacher Nan’s work and residential areas, with the style continuing the Chinese / Western interior design themes of Suzhou Taihu Great Learning Center., Deep rich walnut wood panels and doors bring out generous and stable atmosphere of the entire space, creating a quiet and comfortable working atmosphere.
(1) The reception area on the 6th floor recalls the domed ceiling of the Meditation Halls in both TGLC and the 2nd floor of CIMIC’s East Wing.
(2) Beyond the Reception is the main library and a very large Conference Room. The library features tables and chairs and areas to read and study within the space.
(3) On either side of the floor the residential areas and Teacher Nan’s private reception rooms and personal study are located on the eastern side of the floor, with offices located on the western side.
III. West Wing main space introduction：
1.The staff restaurant on the first floor is designed in a contemporary modern style. Thick walnut towering door arches are repeated to transform alternate grid columns into a continuous wall with distinct openings subtlety recalling the wailing at Miao Gang, and creating separate dining areas, creating a comfortable and pleasant dining environment. Special water-wave and stylized dinner plate like Heng Nan Shu Yuan tiles are used to graphically distinguish key areas.
2.The second floor is composed of hotel-like guestroom suites, and its design’s premise is comfortable and fully functional, and deep brown walnut and the same color type light-color tiles create warm and comfortable restful environment. The use of suite wall wood finishes enhances the sense of spatial quality, at the same time of expressing design sense.
3.The third floor is reserved as residential and guest room space. It's inner design is different from other design mainly is based on modern classic style. Most of room remains high space allowing for open and bright arch connecting guest room and garden enhance the lyric sense of the two space and interaction of space. The designer not only grasp the integrate design of the space but also study and design many details of each different function area, which reflect the status of large in small.
Ⅳ. The East Wing’s major spaces introduction：
1.The design style of the multi-purpose hall on the first floor follows a similar design lineage as the multi-purpose hall of Suzhou Taihu Great Learning Center, which also integrates with the overall environment of the Loggia.The interior main color scheme is deep walnut combined with black and white ceramic tile floor. For multi-purpose hall, to achieve good sound transmission effect, the architect specifically designs the ceiling into handkerchief type arc shape.
2.The Grand Stair leading to meditation hall on the second floor is also a top design priority. Wide, with a gentle pitch the stair is classically symmetrical with high windows looking out to the garden and river in front of the Campus and topped by a skylight allowing abundant natural light. The Staircase side railings use special stone-like (Malachi) paint finishes along with bronze handrails, to create a quiet and
3.Design of meditation hall on the second and third floors is quite similar to the meditation hall in Suzhou Taihu Great Learning Center, with extensive use of rich walnut. Rostrum areas connect the two storeys, for overall arched shape, which is in concert with outside ambulatory arches, playing the role of sight center in the whole space. Oval ceiling shape and top imitation skylight design intend to create a sacred and peaceful atmosphere, and also enhance the three-dimensional sense of the meditation hall. Inspiration comes from ancient and classical buildings such as the Pantheon in Rome, various Renaissance Churches and Thomas Jefferson’s library at the University of Virginia. In addition to the western architectural inspiration, traditional Chinese concepts of the heavens and the earth are reflected in the oval dome and the rectangular form of the floor. The hall is equipped with sophisticated lighting and sound equipment for both presentation and sound and video recording functions. The corridor surrounding the Mediation Hall is designed for use in various Meditation functions such as walking meditation function similar to the hall at Tai Hu.
The Loggia is the main corridor connecting the main building, the East and West Wings and the Porte Cochere and defines the central quadrangle courtyard.
It is modeled in terms of the size and proportion of the garden space and proportion of the arches after an extremely important space and renaissance building located in Florence, Italy Filippo Brunelleschi’s Hospital of the Innocents (Ospedale degli Innocenti) begun in 1419.
In Florence repetitive tall arches form a covered walkway on 3 sides while defining a major central square. In the whole design, the tall towering space, utilizes classically proportioned arches as well as European-style ceiling vaults let the entire ambulatory space produce continuous visual effect, while specially designed floor patterns reinforce the classical feeling through the entire space.