Page 1

DIAGRAMS OF DYNAMISM

Vanke Center Shenzen x Rolex Learning Center EPFL

Andrew Chaplin 2013 a1211211@student.adelaide.edu.au


ABSTRACT

This essay compares the architectural diagrams used in the design process of the Vanke Center Shenzen by Steven Holl Architects, and the Rolex Learning Center by SANAA. This comparison will be made by relating and comparing the diagrams to the design philosophy of each firm, the spatial organization and program elements, context, and phenomenological aspects of the buildings. The essay concludes that the main significant difference between the approaches of each architect is the conceptual distinction between building in a landscape and building a landscape itself. This becomes apparent in the diagrams, and is a point of difference throughout the designs.

i


TABLE OF CONTENTS

i - ABSTRACT ii - TABLE OF CONTENTS iii - VANKE CENTER SHENZEN iv - ROLEX LEARNING CENTER 1 - INTRODUCTION 2 - CONCEPT 3 - SPATIAL ORGANISATION & PROGRAM 5 - CONTEXT 7 - PHENOMENOLOGY 8 - CONCLUSION 9 - ENDNOTES 11 - IMAGE REFERENCES 13 - BIBLIOGRAPHY

ii


VANKE CENTER SHENZEN STEVEN HOLL ARCHITECTS (USA)

The Vanke Center Shenzen, known as ‘Horizontal Skyscraper’, is the standalone headquarters of the largest real estate agent in People’s Republic of China. It is an exemplar of Steven Holl’s recent architectural approach, meshing concepts of urban design and architecture to create a hybrid structure. The Vanke Center is one of several projects Holl has recently completed in China, including as Linked Hybrid, and Sliced Porosity Block. The Horizontal Skyscraper is innovative in its distinctive raised building form, relying on a structural system derived from cable-stay bridge design to achieve.

Horizontal Skyscraper / Vanke Co. Headquarters / Shenzen, China / 2006-2009

iii


ROLEX LEARNING CENTER EPFL SANAA (JPN)

The design of the Rolex Learning Center was the winning entry in a competition for a new library building at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. The building is an example of SANAA’s trademark ‘lightness of touch’, with simple organic forms constructed from concrete, glass and light. The Rolex Learning Center is a ground-breaking building in terms of its unique form and fluid spatial concept, as well as its impressive and indiscernible structural system, which allows the concrete form of the building to rise and fall like a giant piece of Swiss cheese elegantly draped over the landscape.

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne / Lausanne, Switzerland / 2005-2010

iv


Figure 1 - The interior of the Rolex Learning Center appears like a fluid landscape.

INTRODUCTION While architects such as Le Corbusier have used them flirtingly in the past, the use of architectural diagrams as a design tool has been increasingly prevalent since the mid-20th Century1. Used to as a tool to spatialise a concept or penomenon, the implementation of design diagrams has been described as “the most important innovation in architecture of the last 10-15 years”2.

Figure 2 - The Horizontal Skyscraper suspends it’s five story structure above ground to allow expansive views and maximize public space.

The Vanke Center Shenzen by Steven Holl Architects (dubbed ‘Horizontal Skyscraper’) and the Rolex Learning Center EPFL by SANAA are both examples of architectural concepts formed and illustrated using diagrams. The diagrams used in the design and representation of these buildings will be the focus of this essay, specifically comparing the two sets of diagrams. This comparison will be made through the lenses of concept, spatial composition, program, context, and phenomenology. The diagrams will also be examined through reference to the realized buildings, and analysing some of the limitations of the diagrams used in the designs.

1


Figure 3 - EPFL Masterplan

Figure 4 - Animation Axes

Figure 5 - Site Phasing

CONCEPT The building forms of the Vanke Center and the Rolex Learning Center at first glance share several similarities. Both sprawl laterally across their given sites, and both encourage movement below the building as well as within it by making minimal contact with the ground surface. However, despite the seeming similarities between the designs, a comparison of the diagrams reveals a subtle but significant conceptual distinction.

Figure 6 - Raised building form of Vanke Center allows views and permeability

Figure 7 - Scale comparison of the Vanke Center and the Empire State Building

Steven Holl Architects’ concept diagrams for the Horizontal Skyscraper are initially sectional – a typical method for designing a skyscraper. They make little reference to the immediate site (shown through a single ground line), instead developing a structural typology to maximize views while staying within the height limits of the area (Figs. 6-7). Conversely, in the concept diagrams of SANAA’s Rolex Learning Center the building is illustrated as integrating into the landscape itself (Figs. 3-5). This is demonstrated in its conceptual design by the use of planimetric diagrams, which show strong attention to the surrounding context by starting with a larger scale plan of the EPFL campus and consideration of movement axes and site phasing. This conceptual distinction between building in a landscape and building a landscape itself is a point of difference between the two designs that is evident throughout the entire design process, from conception to construction.

2


SPATIAL COMPOSITION & PROGRAM The distinction in design philosophy could be considered as an indication of each architect’s cultural and architectural background, or what SANAA’s Ryue Nishizawa describes as “dynamism”3. Nishizawa states that he is interested in a “landscape-like architecture”, where “architectural concept transcends, in scale, the size of the building to produce a large, landscape-like world”. He considers this integration of architecture and nature to be a distinctly Asian dynamism, which “is not the additive dynamism or sculptural dynamism of European buildings and cities but rather a fluid, organic dynamism”4.

Figure 8 - Rolex Center main entry

Figure 9 - Internal zones

Figure 10 - Views

SANAA’s emphasis on a “landscape-like” fluidity of space is demonstrated in the plan diagrams for the Rolex Learning Center (Figs. 8-10, 13-14), which illustrate a building largely devoid of walls and spatial divisions. For example, figure 13 shows the relationship between open and quiet spaces through a notional separation of spatial types, as opposed to a physical intervention. This is also reflected in the plan drawing (Fig. 14), which despite being a technical drawing borders on diagrammatic. It is reminiscent of a bubble diagram, where separated walled ‘bubbles’ define the private spaces around the edges of the building, and the public spaces towards the middle are less defined.

Figure 11 - Vanke Center interior circulation strategy

Figure 12 - Interior circulation strategy plan

3


Figure 13 - Rolex Center public and private space strategy

Figure 14 - Plan drawing

With the scale of the building well and truly entering the spectrum of Urban Design, Steven Holl’s philosophy for larger projects is defined by three urban ideals; creating hybrid buildings, defining public space, and construction of “super-green architecture”5. The ideal of creating a hybrid building is clearly reflected in Holl’s spatial composition and program diagrams. This is visible in figures 15 and 16, which show mixed programs compacted into a single elevated building form.

Figure 15 - Vanke Center buidling program

Figure 16 - Program, views and landscape

Holl’s diagrams could be categorized under Nishizawa’s concept of “Western dynamism”, where his philosophy of defining public space is in contrast from SANAA’s ideal to leave public spaces undefined. For example, figures 11 shows the exterior public spaces through distinct areas separated by a network of paths, while figure 12 shows the interior public space (coloured blue) as a clearly defined corridor.

4


Figure 17 - Top: Initially proposed Vanke Center landscape strategy. Bottom: Steven Holl landscape strategy proposal.

CONTEXT Each project’s contextual diagrams are again examples of the architects’ design philosophies. Holl’s philosophy to “create views over the lower developments of surrounding sites to the South China Sea” is clearly diagrammed in figure 20, in which the building form is shown relating to greater context by highlighting certain views. Also apparent in is Holl’s ideal to “generate the largest possible green space open to the public on ground level”6, and his ideal of “super-green” architecture. For example, figure 17 shows how Holl reinterpreted the original plans to create more green space than was originally on the blank site.

Figure 18 - Rolex Center environment section diagram

Similarly, diagrams referencing the context of the Rolex Learning Center express SANAA’s philosophy to integrate the building with the landscape (Fig. 18, 21). In the site landscape plan diagram (Fig. 21) the building is illustrated as sitting within a central landscape site, with strong links to the surrounding campus, evidenced by the ‘fingers’ of green space reaching outwards into the EPFL campus. The section diagram (Fig. 18) shows the fluidity and the permeability of the building form. It shows the wind and light flowing through and interacting with the building, a concept that the Vanke Center also achieves7, although isn’t specifically diagrammed for this project.

Figure 19 - Vanke Center landscape elements Next Page: Figure 20 (top) - Vanke Center view strategy, Figure 21 (bottom) - Rolex Center landscape plan

5


6


PHENOMENOLOGY Both SANAA and Steven Holl are renowned for the experiential aspects of their designs, however only Holl has visibly diagrammed this aspect (Figs. 22-25). Holl’s concept for the interior public path borrows ideas previously used in the design of MIT’s Simmons Hall and Linked Hybrid8. Using his well known conceptual technique of watercolour drawing, Holl conceives of the public interior spaces as an “untied bow-tie”, which is expressed in the section drawing and the completed structure (Figs. 23 & 25). The sketch diagram shows how the coloured ‘bow-tie’ is disassembled, creating strips of reflected colour through the staircase areas. The translation of this to a 3D space is visible in figure 24, while figures 23 and 25 show how it is implemented into the final structure.

Figure 22- Vanke Center interior public path “untied bow-tie” watercolour sketch

SANAA’s diagrams for the Rolex Learning Center similarly reflect concepts visible in earlier projects, which is not unusual to see when comparing an architect’s body of work. However, the available diagrams9 do not express the experiential aspects of the design in an obvious manner (Figs. 26-30). This is due to SANAA perception that the concept of landscape-like architecture is directly linked to experience10. For instance, looking at the section diagrams (Fig. 26), it could be understood that the fluidity of the architecture has direct links to the rolling mountains across the nearby Lake Geneva, as the undulating building form allows generous views across the landscape and also evokes the form of the hills themselves, creating experience through context.

Figure 23 - Vanke Center interior

Figure 24 - Untied bow-tie diagram

Figure 25 - Section drawing

7


Figure 26 - Rolex Center section diagrams and elevation

CONCLUSION While diagrams clearly played a significant role in designing both the Vanke Center and the Rolex Learning Center, some limitations of the diagrams used is also apparent. For example, Holl’s diagrammatic watercolour drawing (Fig. 22) is the only reference to the human scale in any of his diagrams. Seeing as scale is a significant consideration in Holl’s work11, this is perhaps evidence of the limitations of the use of the diagram as a tool to work with the human scale on such a large architectural project, rather than an oversight by Holl.

Figure 27 - Rolex Center during construction

Figure 28 - Lighting strategy

Figure 29 - Ventilation strategy

It is perceivable that both architects’ goals were realized through the use of diagrams. Steven Holl’s philosophies of creating hybrid buildings, defining public space, and realizing “super-green” architecture resulted in one of the first LEED-platinum rated buildings in China. SANAA also achieved their philosophy of creating a “landscape-like architecture”, whose concept can be understood without entering the building. While the diagrams produced by both Steven Holl Architects and SANAA were not without their limitations, their use was integral in the conception of two ground-breaking pieces of architecture.

Figure 30 - Rolex Center environment section diagram

8


ENDNOTES

1 - Garcia, M 2010, The Diagrams of Architecture: AD Reader, Wiley, Chichester, p. 18. 2 - Garcia, M 2010, The Diagrams of Architecture: AD Reader, Wiley, Chichester, p. 18. 3 - Nishizawa, R 2013, ‘Landscape-like Architecture, Verb-like Architecture’, Architecture and Urbanism, no. 512. 4 - Nishizawa, R 2013, ‘Landscape-like Architecture, Verb-like Architecture’, Architecture and Urbanism, no. 512. 5 - Holl Architects, S 2011, Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, Richmond, p. 9. 6 - Holl, S n.d., Horizontal Skyscraper – Vanke Center, Steven Holl Architects, viewed 1 October 2013, <http://www.stevenholl.com/project-detail.php?id=60type> 7 - Gregory, R 2010, ‘134 Vanke Centre’, The Architectural Review, vol. 228, viewed 1 October 2013, (Gale Cengage Academic OneFile), p. 46. 8 - Yorgancioglu, D 2004, ‘Steven Holl: A Translation of Phenomenological Philosophy Into the Realm of Architecture’, MARCH thesis, Middle East Technical University, Ankara.

9


9 - A lecture by Nishizawa shows a diagram that is not commonly published (not even in the book printed by EPFL on the conception of the building), explaining their consideration of the views from the Rolex Learning Center. Link: http://youtu.be/hjvDGMMcJqc?t=53m45s 10 - “To me, personal experience and landscape-like architecture are aspects of the same question” Yoshida, N (ed.) 2013, ‘Interview: Experience of Architectural Concepts’, Architecture and Urbanism, no. 512. p. 70. 11 - Holl has noted the importance of scale in his work through lectures and writings: <http://www.archdaily.com/279831/steven-holl-scale-lecture/> <http://www.lars-mueller-publishers.com/en/steven-holl-scale>

10


IMAGE REFERENCES Vanke Center Shenzen - Horizontal Skyscraper / Steven Holl 2010, ArchDaily, viewed 6 October 2013, <http://www.archdaily.com/66199/horizontal-skyscraper-steven-holl/1sha-vanke-10-05-7409/> Rolex Learning Center - Rolex Learning Center by SANAA, Architectural Review, viewed 6 October 2013, <http://www.architectural-review.com/Journals/1/Files/2010/5/13/AR05_4096-2-01resized.jpg> Figure 1 - SANAA 2010, Danish Architecture Centre, viewed 6 October 2013, <http://www.dac.dk/media/11471/4_ROLEX_LEARNING_CENTER_EPFL_SANAA_copy_Hisao_Suzuki_1.jpg> Figure 2 - Horizontal Skyscraper / Steven Holl, ArchDaily, viewed 6 October 2013, <http://www.archdaily.com/66199/horizontal-skyscraper-steven-holl/sha-vanke-10-03-7168/> Figure 3 - SANAA 2011, Rolex Learning Center, El Croquis 155: SANAA 2008-2011 (English and Spanish Edition), Idea Books, Amsterdam. Figure 4 - SANAA 2011, Rolex Learning Center, El Croquis 155: SANAA 2008-2011 (English and Spanish Edition), Idea Books, Amsterdam. Figure 5 - SANAA 2011, Rolex Learning Center, El Croquis 155: SANAA 2008-2011 (English and Spanish Edition), Idea Books, Amsterdam. Figure 6 - Holl Architects, S 2011, Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, Richmond. Figure 7 - Holl Architects, S 2011, Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, Richmond. Figure 8 - SANAA 2011, Rolex Learning Center, El Croquis 155: SANAA 2008-2011 (English and Spanish Edition), Idea Books, Amsterdam. Figure 9 -SANAA 2011, Rolex Learning Center, El Croquis 155: SANAA 2008-2011 (English and Spanish Edition), Idea Books, Amsterdam. Figure 10 - SANAA 2011, Rolex Learning Center, El Croquis 155: SANAA 2008-2011 (English and Spanish Edition), Idea Books, Amsterdam. Figure 11 - Holl Architects, S 2011, Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, Richmond. Figure 12 - Holl Architects, S 2011, Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, Richmond.

11


Figure 13 - SANAA 2011, Rolex Learning Center, El Croquis 155: SANAA 2008-2011 (English and Spanish Edition), Idea Books, Amsterdam. Figure 14 - SANAA 2011, Rolex Learning Center, El Croquis 155: SANAA 2008-2011 (English and Spanish Edition), Idea Books, Amsterdam.Figure 15 - Holl Architects, S 2011, Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, Richmond. Figure 16 - Holl Architects, S 2011, Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, Richmond. Figure 17 - Holl Architects, S 2011, Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, Richmond. Figure 18 - SANAA 2011, Rolex Learning Center, El Croquis 155: SANAA 2008-2011 (English and Spanish Edition), Idea Books, Amsterdam. Figure 19 - Holl Architects, S 2011, Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, Richmond. Figure 20 - Holl Architects, S 2011, Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, Richmond. Figure 21 - Della Casa, F & Eugène 2010, Rolex Learning Center, EPFL Press, Lausanne. Figure 22 - Holl Architects, S 2011, Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, Richmond. Figure 23 - Holl Architects, S 2011, Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, Richmond. Figure 24 - Holl Architects, S 2011, Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, Richmond. Figure 25 - Holl Architects, S 2011, Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, Richmond. Figure 26 - SANAA 2011, Rolex Learning Center, El Croquis 155: SANAA 2008-2011 (English and Spanish Edition), Idea Books, Amsterdam. Figure 27 - Della Casa, F & Eugène 2010, Rolex Learning Center, EPFL Press, Lausanne. Figure 28 - Della Casa, F & Eugène 2010, Rolex Learning Center, EPFL Press, Lausanne. Figure 29 - Della Casa, F & Eugène 2010, Rolex Learning Center, EPFL Press, Lausanne. Figure 30 - SANAA 2011, Rolex Learning Center, El Croquis 155: SANAA 2008-2011 (English and Spanish Edition), Idea Books, Amsterdam.

12


BIBLIOGRAPHY ELECTRONIC MEDIA Archinnovations 2011, Steven Holl Architects – Horizontal Skyscraper, archinnovations, viewed 6 October 2013, <http://www.archinnovations.com/featured-projects/mixed-use/steven-holl-architects-horizontal-skyscra per-vanke-center-in-shenzhen-china/> Cleaver, J (ed.) 2010, ‘Rolex Learning Centre: Elegant Complexity in Concrete, Australian Concrete Construction, vol. 23, viewed 5 October 2013, (Informit Engineering Collection). Fu, X 2012, ‘Horizontal Skyscraper: Innovative Structural Design of Shenzhen Vanke Center’, Journal of Structural Engineering, vol. 138, viewed 6 October 2013, (EBSCOhost Academic Search Premier). Gregory, R 2010, ‘134 Vanke Centre’, The Architectural Review, vol. 228, viewed 1 October 2013, (Gale Cengage Academic OneFile). Holl, S n.d., Horizontal Skyscraper – Vanke Center, Steven Holl Architects, viewed 1 October 2013, <http://www.stevenholl.com/project-detail.php?id=60type> McGuirk, J 2010, ‘Rolex Learning Centre’, Icon Magazine, 7 May, viewed 5 October 2013, <http://www.iconeye.com/read-previous-issues/icon-083-%7C-may-2010/rolex-learning-centre> Ouroussoff, N 2011, ‘Turning Design on Its Side’, The New York Times, viewed 1 October 2013, (Gale Cengage Academic OneFile). Woods, L 2011, ‘Steven Holl’s Horizontal Skyscraper’, Lebbeus Woods, 28 June, viewed 6 October 2013, <lebbeuswoods.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/steven-holls-horizontal-skyscraper/> Yorgancioglu, D 2004, ‘Steven Holl: A Translation of Phenomenological Philosophy Into the Realm of Architecture’, MARCH thesis, Middle East Technical University, Ankara.

13


BOOKS Della Casa, F & Eugène 2010, Rolex Learning Center, EPFL Press, Lausanne. Garcia, M 2010, The Diagrams of Architecture: AD Reader, Wiley, Chichester. Holl Architects, S 2011, Horizontal Skyscraper, William Stout Publishers, Richmond.

PERIODICALS Nishizawa, R 2013, ‘Landscape-like Architecture, Verb-like Architecture’, Architecture and Urbanism, no. 512. Holl, S 2008, Vanke Center, El Croquis 141: Steven Holl 2004-2008 (English and Spanish Edition), Idea Books, Amsterdam. SANAA 2011, Rolex Learning Center, El Croquis 155: SANAA 2008-2011 (English and Spanish Edition), Idea Books, Amsterdam. Yoshida, N (ed.) 2013, ‘Interview: Experience of Architectural Concepts’, Architecture and Urbanism, no. 512.

14

Diagrams of Dynamism  

An illustrated essay comparing the use of architectural diagrams relating to the designs of the Rolex Learning Centre (SANAA), and the Vanke...

Diagrams of Dynamism  

An illustrated essay comparing the use of architectural diagrams relating to the designs of the Rolex Learning Centre (SANAA), and the Vanke...

Advertisement