Green Valley Art Center / Office of Scenic Architecture
Text description provided by the architects. Green Valley Art Center is located at the northeast end of Xuhui CBD Central Park which is located east of Shanghai South Railway Station. It was designed with the vision to explore a dynamic experience of multiple interactions for public art activities. This landmark mega-range structure provides continuous and transparent interior and exterior ground spaces for the park. The raised ramp gallery connects different functional areas at different heights, stimulating autonomous participation and dynamic communication across events.
The building is located on the east side of the site to keep it away from the area occupied by Metro Line One and the elevated highway. From a technical point of view, this urban plan reduces construction complexity and avoids the risk of foundation placement that can be caused by subway lines and elevated highways. From a planning point of view, it maintains the integrity of the greenbelt on the western side of the site, making the building an art center surrounded by greenery. A landscape road – which runs from the Business District of Shanghai South Railway Station with Metro Line One below – is the backbone of the Xuhui CBD Central Park. From this landscape axis, we extend a three-dimensional pedestrian circulation that passes through the interior and exterior of the building and becomes the organizer of the landscape, structural space and architectural form.
The park is dominated by a continuous grassy slope covered with diverse tree species. The scenic route runs through the forest on a gentle slope and reaches the northeastern end of an amphitheater surrounded by architecture and landscape. As a pedestrian junction connecting Shanghai South Railway Station and Xujiahui, this amphitheater increases the publicity of the art center and becomes the starting point of the landscape route. Due to the opening of the theater to the outdoors, the public from all directions of the park can freely watch or participate in the open-air performances that take place in the amphitheater, where people can also enter the welcoming lobby of the building.
The main body of the building is a triangular log structure that rises and falls. The span is supported by only three points: V-shaped steel columns at the southwest and northeast corners and a concrete core at the southeast corner. The beams stretch 50-60 meters in the east-west direction, which realizes the transparency of the lobby and ensures the continuity of the interior and exterior spaces. The internal circulation, starting from the lobby, extends this continuity to all areas of the building. The ramp gallery with a gentle slope of 1:12 is arranged circularly along the outer boundary of the building, offering artists exhibition spaces with strong guidelines and new creative possibilities. Visitors can choose a top-down or reverse direction of the tour route and will feel a changing and varied spatial experience during the visit.
Surrounding the ramp gallery are the 500-seat conference hall with a restaurant above and a multi-purpose lobby and café on the ground floor. The slope of the conference hall floor is complemented by four anti-bending supports, which lean into the ground at the southeast corner along two sides, providing lateral force support for the entire building and forming a unique V-shaped auditorium. Press conferences in lobby, art events in the ramp gallery and TED lectures or small performances in the conference hall can form functional complement and extension of social activity with catering in the large space. This functional and social interactivity extends to the ramp roof garden above the ramp gallery: the roof can be accessed from the street at the northeast end of the showroom or from the elevator at the southeast corner. Take a walk or have a cocktail on a terrace so steep and looping, people will immerse themselves in the open cityscape and can see the magnificent new skyline of the South Station Business District. Through a walkway, these diverse activities are connected to continuous spaces, which make the building an interactive experience.
Architecture is a trinity in space, structure and form. The cage structure that makes up the main and secondary circulation spaces, and the transparent atrium between them, faithfully reflect the interior experience and also naturally form the distinctive appearance of the art center. As the ramp gallery goes up, one corner of the triangle volume rises up at the southeast corner of the park and leads towards Xujiahui along the elevated Humin Expressway, just like an “artistic weather lane”. We hope that this traffic-driven structure can not only provide a landmark for the Shanghai South Railway Station area, but also stimulate the vitality of cultural exchange with a rich dynamic spatial experience, presenting the spiritual connotation of a center of public art.