beijing design week: SPARK architects completes jianzi pavilion with 15,000 featherballs
(above) photo by cristiano bianchi

 

 

 

on an empty plot in beijing’s historic baitasi district, SPARK architects highlights the rich qualities of the city’s spontaneous and dynamic public spaces, where urban interventions engage the community as platforms for interaction and activity.

 

on the occasion of  beijing design week 2015, the international practice presents the ‘jianzi box’ pavilion made from the very materials that inform the everyday life of the area’s vibrant social sector — ‘jianzi’ (毽子). this traditional folk sport dating back to the han dynasty sees players use their bodies to keep a heavily weighted, badminton-like birdie from hitting the ground, in turn transforming any disused space into an impromptu playground.

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the pavilion made from the very materials that inform up the life of the area’s vibrant social sector
photo by shu he

 

 

 

in the design of the pavilion, SPARK architects reconsiders the traditional context and use of the playful featherball as an architectural material, forming a façade from 15,000 colorful jianzi that extend over a steel frame. the pavilion has been built on a formerly abandoned plot in the historic hutong district, in turn creating a new public area for both locals and visitors to experience and enjoy.

 

features of the installation include a series of swings that hang from the ceiling and ample internal space that provides room for movie screenings, yoga classes, lectures and reading sessions. each of the features engage visitors on both a physical and emotional level, forming not only an architectural intervention within the urban setting, but an experiential and sensory experience for everyone that encounters it. 

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the urban interventions engages the community as a platform for interaction and activity
photo by shu he

 

 

 

visitors and passersby are invited to pluck one of the jianzi from the mesh shell and collect it as a reminder of their encounter with the space. at the site of the installation, everyone from hutong locals to wandering foreigners can be observed interacting with pavilion’s tactile walls, some snatching a feathery item and starting up an impromptu game, others saving it as a souvenir to bring safely away with them.

 

SPARK architects aims to pass the tradition on to both members of the community, who wish to play, and travelers across the world, who can share a piece of the experience with their own neighbors and social groups. 

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15,000 colorful jianzi extend over a steel frame
photo by shu he

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a plastic pool of blue plastic orbs located under the pavilion invites children to jump in
photo by cristiano bianchi

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the site becomes a meeting place for children and adults alike 
photo by shu he

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locals and visitors engage with the site in new ways than before 
photo by shu he

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passersby are invited to take away the colorful toys from the installation facade 
photo by shu he

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a sea of brightly colored jianzi surround visitors within
photo by christian taeubert

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a series of swings that hang from the ceiling and ample internal space provides room for social situations
photo by shu he

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visitors and passersby are invited to pluck one of the jianzi from the mesh shell
photo by shu he

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a wall of featherballs spans the length of the installation 
photo by shu he

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children play with jianzi they have collected from the side of the pavilion
photo by miranda vukasovic

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an aerial view shows the site and surrounding setting 
photo by shu he

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the ‘jianzi pavilion’ slopes upwards and meanders around existing trees
photo by shu he

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‘jianzi box’ pavilion sits on a former empty plot in the baitasi district of beijing

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diagram of ‘jianzi box’ pavilion, with swings and a lecture ring