The building’s massing as three parallel volumes enable the landscape to flow in-between and beneath as well as inside. The interior is organized as multiple plateaus, systematically interconnected by ramps to form a continuous and multidirectional maze to be explored without a predetermined order.

Xi'an Creativity Pavilion

TYPE Cultural, Exhibition, Public space
STATUS Competition 1. Prize, Built
LOCATION Xi'an, China
YEAR 2011
CLIENT Chan Ba Ecological District

PROJECT ARCHITECT Mehran Gharleghi
DESIGN TEAM Katy Barkan, Nicoletta Gerevini, Evan Greenberg, Tom Lee, Dongyun Liu, Peter Pichler, Benedikt Schleicher, Danai Sage; LAUR Studio, Xiaowei Tong, Ying Wang, Beijing, China

COLLABORATORS Groundlab, ARUP, London, Beijing; John Martin and Associates, Los Angeles

The Creativity Pavilion- the main building of the expo- is located on the edge of the lake as the endpoint to the central axis, is formed to articulate the interface with the lake and the framing of the pagoda on the other shore. It ties in with a series of piers that follow the landscape jutting out into the water. The built volumes are interwoven with the ground, blurring the distinction between landscape and architecture.

The building’s exterior articulation is undermining traditional hierarchies and expectations: it reads as a series of mounds when visitors arrive to it from the North, while in turn becoming sculptural and iconic when seen from its backside with three long cantilevered volumes hovering above the lake. The spaces beneath those large cantilevers are spatially as well as socially engaging: far away from the control and representational confines of the building’s entrance, in pleasant shade with sunlight reflected by the lake, groups of visitors gather on sloped decks to rest and reflect.

Through its materiality the Creativity Pavilion again manifests itself as an extension of the ground with the lower part being clad from the same stone panels as the ground around it. Further above solid cast bronze panels, a locally sourced material, is used to wrap the building’s sides and roof, while bands of greenery cover it like a tessellated net.