Suzhou SSAC

(Suzhou SSAC)

Completion Date
2006

Client
PM Link Pte Ltd / Suzhou PM Link Pty Ltd

Cost
AUD $25million (Façade only, excluding lighting)

Architect
Paul Andreu, Paris
ECADI, Shanghai

Façade Architect
dB(A)

Façade Engineer
ASSE Consultants

Local Design Institute
ECADI, Shanghai

Interior Design
DP Architects, Singapore

Photographers
Blain Crellin
Dashiell Gantner
Goh Swee Geok

(About)

studio505 developed an intricate yet simple and effective façade design to enclose and identify the massive Suzhou Science and Cultural Arts Centre. The base building, designed by Paul Andreu, houses opera halls, cinemas, cultural centre facilities, galleries, gardens and all manner of support infrastructure. The façade developed by studio 505 is a strategic solution to the varied requirements of this massive building.

The continuously curved perimeter of the main building, which in plan is shaped like a parabolic half moon crescent, is more than 1.5 kilometres long and consists of an inner weather proofing layer (glazed in some areas, opaque in others) and an outer ornamental metal screen, which provides shading but also gives the building its unique external appearance and identity.

(Concept)

In order to form a harmonious relationship with the building beneath, studio505 developed a facade that would appear like a continuous surface, an infinite loop with neither a beginning or end. studio505 developed a matrix of three hexagons superimposed at 60 degrees relative to each other. The panel installation joints are positioned along the hexagons which are orientated horizontally, however no other visual emphasis is placed on the actual panel break down.

A second pattern was developed that overlays the hexagonal matrix. Modeled from an image of free-flowing brush strokes, this second pattern provides an organic counterbalance to the straight nature of the hexagonal matrix it sits above. These two components, opposite in nature in their form, unite to give the building its iconic facade. In reference to the name of the actual building complex, science and arts form a continuous dialogue in the pattern of its external skin.

(Fabrication)

Each of the approximately 10sqm large individual composite façade panels consist of two inner and two outer water jet cut aluminum tiles with the integral structural framing sandwiched in between the two layers.  This strategy hides all necessary framing from view and thus creates a screen that does not only look dynamic from the outside, but reads equally stunning when seen from the vast public foyer areas inside.  The dual skin and patterns are made from 16 unique tiles assembled in 42 selected permutations throughout the 24,000sqm of external façade.

(Lighting)

A low resolution and fully programmable LED lighting system was installed and concealed by the framing structure of the facades hexagonal tiles. This lighting system turned all 1.5km of the facade into a brilliant and dazzling canvas, its very nature a state of flux and evolution.