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Wind Pavilion
Nanjing, 2023
Entrance pavilion for the Stone City Underground Museum 

Location: Nanjing, China
Client: Nanjing Stone City Museum 
Date: 2023
Site Area: 14,950 m²
Total Area: 3,225 m²
Type: Cultural, Museum
Status: Concept

Principal Architect: Xie Jie
Design team: Ni Zi-Qin
Structural Engineer Consultant: Yu Jin-Xin

The archaeological heritage of Nanjing's Stone City will be revealed in a unique way by transforming a reservoir on the summit of Qingliang Mountain, dating back to the Republic of China period, into an underground museum. The mysterious and secluded environment of the underground reservoir is isolated from the outside world, where it feels as if not only space and atmosphere but also time itself has solidified. The Stone City Wind Pavilion, designed to serve as the above-ground entrance to the underground museum, stands in stark contrast to the subterranean realm: it is a space deeply intertwined with the natural environment, unfolding an ever-evolving space with a vibrant yet serene manner. We've positioned the Wind Pavilion at the southwest corner of the site, a nexus for visitors to the relic park and those strolling along Qingliang Mountain's paths, ensuring easy access for all, including nearby residents. The location, sparse in existing trees and facing Qingliang Mountain's renowned Ginkgo Valley, allows for the preservation and incorporation of the natural setting. The elevation aligns closely with that of the underground museum, making it accessible for visitors with limited mobility. The Wind Pavilion, with its length of 52 meters and width of 9 meters, features a design with wave-like roofs and floors that point toward the ancient Yangtze River channel. A curved semi-open pedestrian tunnel guides visitors to an exposed part of the underground museum, offering glimpses through a window of the distinctive underground columns. As they walk through the tunnel, visitors can see the Wind Pavilion above them, feel the natural surroundings, and observe the changing patterns of light and shadow cast by the structure. When the southeast wind blows in the summertime, the roof and floors seem to dance with the wind. After traversing the tunnel and passing through a rock garden, visitors can ascend to the museum's entrance via a spiral staircase or an elevator. From south to north, the Wind Pavilion comprises a circular hall, the ticket office, and a foyer, openly facing the adjacent relic park. Its seven columns, solid wall on westside, and the undulating concrete roof and floor form a hybrid structural system. These columns are thoughtfully positioned to preserve the integrity of the museum’s underground exhibit spaces, thus reducing the need for additional reinforcement of the existing period columns. The functional spaces are arranged on a series of flat platforms, resting lightly upon the undulating floors, with slopes that guide visitors towards the relic park. This interplay between the columns and the ceiling's waves creates a dynamic appearance, lending a sense of grandeur and distinctive flair compared with the underground museum's columns. The original ambiance of the underground reservoir is suited for display purposes, and our intention is to preserve this atmosphere in the main exhibition zones. At the end of the Wind Pavilion's foyer, escalators descend into the underground museum, connecting through the central axis area. The museum's central zone is designed as a communal space, with skylights next to the existing aeration chambers introducing soft daylight. The south side features a temporary exhibition hall within a distinctive beamless space, while the permanent exhibition circulation on the north follows the pattern of the old water storage space.

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