Like a Dragon

Like a coiled, sleeping dragon, this office building floats on the water of the lake, which is also the dam for the Shihlien Chemical Industrial factory in Huai’an, Jiangsu province, PRC.

The idea of placing the main office building on water was implicit in the master plan for the factory, as this primarily chemical industry needs a reservoir to ensure its permanent, constant production.

The curved shape of the volume, accessed across two bridges, makes it seem to move as one approach and moves away.

The extremely simple organization is distributed on two levels: the main entrance is on the east side, where the central foyer provides access to the work area in a south-facing unit, with another north-facing unit for the social and exhibition zones. The service entrance, restaurant and kitchen areas all face north. The administration zones and facilities of the associate companies are on the upper floor.

The highlights of the main body include the volumes for the special zones such as the meeting rooms and the auditorium. Stairs, bridges and a ramped bridge facilitate accessibility, functionality and circulation between the spaces.

White concrete, aluminum/wood window frames and glass characterize the materiality of the building in contrast to the fluidity of the water body that supports it.

The building moves, always displaying its different forms with controlled elegance, exposed to light and shadows, with changing colors and reflections.

As architecture should it be.

source: Carlos Castanheira