Sino-French Centre

Tongji-University, Shanghai
Atelier Z+

Sino-French Centre of Tongji-University is located at the south-east corner of the campus, with 12.9 Building, the oldest existing building of the campus, and 12.9 Memorial Park on its west side, tracking field on its south side, and Siping Road on its east Side. XuRi-Building, which should be preserved, is located at the northwest corner of the site. And the other precondition is that a group of existing meta sequoias and the other scattered located nine trees such as deodar cedars, plane-trees, Japanese pagoda-trees and willows are chosen to be retained.

The goal of this project is to create a form system to integrate its program, its site context and its cultural context. Our way to achieve these is to use a geometric diagram to control the materialization of its program and circulation, to conform to the site restriction, and also to indicate its symbolic meaning, the culture exchange between two countries. This diagram of "Hand in Hand" is introduced to organize the whole building with its inherent structure of dualistic juxtaposition.

The program is composed of three parts: college, office and public gathering space. Two similar but different zigzag volumes, occupied by college and office sector respectively, overlap and interlace each other, and then they are linked together by the volume of public gathering space on underground and up level. The college and office sector share the main entrance which is located at the void part of the intersection of these two volumes, while public gathering space has its own lobby, which faces to roof pool and sunken garden, to connect underground exhibit hall and lecture hall on the up level. The function of the college and offices is well kept in mind by using regular shapes for almost each unit. Yet applying zigzag corridor to connect these units creates abundant interests throughout inside and outside space. In the meanwhile, existing trees are incorporated into the design to add more charms to this complex.

Different materials and tectonics are applied to the different components of the complex. The college is wrapped with Cor-Ten steel panels. The unique texture and colour of the panels and the smoothness of the glass create delicate variation. Coated cement panel are introduced into the office sector. Regular and irregular window bands provide sunlight to the office unites and corridors. Public gathering space is created by the combination of both Cor-Ten steel panels and coated cement panel. The vivid colour and texture of Cor-Ten steel panel is contracted with plain grey cement panel. This treatment indicates the symbolic meaning of this project, the juxtaposition of two different cultures.

Landscape design plays a very important role of this design as wall. The retained existing meta sequoias, surrounded by office sector, public gathering area and XuRi-Building form an entry plaza of the complex. Connected with 12.9 Memorial Park, this space will become a very important outdoor space to serve the entire campus. The connection between two parts of the building formed a roof pool and a sunken garden, which becomes an inter-media between urban space and campus space. A semi private garden, created by the college and the office sector, gives a peaceful place for studying and relaxing.

Eventually, by applying different geometries, materials, colours and tectonics, we create a unique architectural piece that has a through and profound group of the meanings of cultural exchange between China and France.

Project Name: Sino-French Centre, Tongji-University

Location: Main Campus of Tongji-University, 1239 Siping Rd., Shanghai

Client: Tongji-University

Architects: Zhang Bin, Zhou Wei

Project Team: Zhuang Sheng, Lu Jun, Wang Jiaqi, Xie Jing

Structure: reinforced concrete frame, partly steel frame; Basement, 5 stories and a penthouse

Principal Use: college, office, conference centre and exhibition

Material: Cor-Ten steel panels, precoated cement panels, exposed concrete, steel profile, aluminium, glass, timber

Building Area: 3,142 sqm

Gross Floor Area: 13,575 sqm

Cost: 60,000,000 Yuan RMB

Design Period: 2004.03-2006.10

Construction Period: 2004.12-2006.10

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