ONE THIRD YOGA / Boundary Space Design
Text description provided by the architects. Located in the art park near China Academy of Art, the project is on the highest hillside terrace and against the giant gable, overlooking the white building complex in the park. The entrance to the yard is at the end of a U-shape slope, hiding behind the wall. Go up a few steps and turn around, you can see a lawn surrounded by white three-floor buildings and a square building. Entering into the yard, a path of slabs and concrete leads us to the entrance of the building. The sunlight pavilion on the left and the side porch on the right of the entrance are additions afterward, to complete and enrich internal functions while trying to maintain unity with original buildings. Change of demands for functions drives us to re-organize the space, and lead to following additions and “alteration” to part of the original building.
The lobby on the first floor is the traffic node for multiple functional spaces on this floor and pathways to the second and third floors, and it also includes reception. The reception desk is stacked on extending steps and appears to be independent and comfortable surrounded by two modularized spaces (entrance area to the integrated classroom and the cleaner’s room) that don’t go to the ceiling. These space modules also enable the extensive ceiling to blur boundaries among spaces and create the perception of continuous overall space.
Adding the sunlight pavilion is to develop a gathering point for relaxation, sharing, and discussion. The addition makes use of the trapezoidal crevice between the original building and the fencing next door, and leaves a narrow long chamber on the innermost side, to attend to lighting, ventilation of surrounding spaces, and to expand the continuity and transparency of these spaces. The profound and endless feeling generated by wandering about and walking around among several spaces and visual penetration into each other is the most expected and valued atmosphere in a space. The pavilion has a roof of steel structure and glass, and one edge of the chamber as the“height” of the trapezoid, namely, the position of its H-shape steel beam, dividing the trapezoid roof right into a triangle and a rectangle. The roof on both sides inclines inwards, and the beam elevation is the lowest. The upper groove of the H-shape steel is used to collect rainwater splatter from both inclined roofs, and bring water into the chamber with higher elevation on the outside and lower on the inside, to form the scene of rain and irrigate the chamber.
On the back of the chamber is the path to the meditation room. Internal-external, elevation, and privacy relationships among the chamber, corridor, and meditation room sharing the long window next to the path are different. Hereinto, the double-door fixture made using the structural column among the three is the key to solving the problem. We raise the floor of the meditation room and lower the window facing the gable at the edge of the site, to capture a subtle sense of body brought by the vision from meditation hunkering. With moss growing on the lower part of the gable all year-round, the exterior of the window and the whole vision is full of greenery. The quiet atmosphere is suitable for practicing meditation, vipassana, and respiration.
The integrated classroom on the first floor is the largest one, suitable for large-scale comprehensive theory courses and practices. Treatment of the structural central column and the centripetal relationship among arcs of the ceiling implies mental centrality in the tranquil spatial atmosphere. The staircase running through three floors was originally built with a steel frame, yet through integration based on the original structure, the lowest flight is made with lateral overhang steps and on the upper section, the outer side plate of the handrail is sealed. The first two steps are extended into a platform covering the whole staircase area, to hold the rectangle reception desk. The handrail hangs across the steps from the first landing, and is pre-buried and cast in the concrete platform.
The classroom on the second floor has French windows on three sides, with leaves of camphor trees approaching the windows, filling the room with greenery. Sufficient lighting enables the classroom to be in a soft atmosphere like a soft light box all day long, making it suitable for practicing stretched-out movements. When the weather is suitable, choosing to practice yoga on the outdoor terrace is also a good experience. The bar area serves for temporary relaxation and communication and attends to the outdoor terrace.
The steel structure on the third floor of the original building boasts a sense of form. We hope to keep the sense of power brought by this form. On the floor plan with embedded hollow square walls, inner walls are windowed to echo with windows on outer walls of the original building and keep natural lighting. Nodes of the original steel structure on the third floor are highlighted through the counterpoint of the retrieved partition wall between the practicing room and public area with the windowed position. In addition, using the groove of H-shape steel as troffer for lights makes the structural nodes the spiritual core connecting several adjacent spaces. The practicing room on the third floor has a wall-like red mountain, and edge recession on both sides of the wall and three sides of the ceiling makes clear the sense of independence of the wall. On the contrary, steel structure inserted into the crevice nests with the red wall, bringing the feeling of endless boundary and putting practitioners into a unique stretching atmosphere.