vector architects has completed a multi-functional cultural space for students and staff at a university in tianjin, a major port city in northeastern china. working in the context of nankai university’s existing campus, the architects designed ‘haibing center’ to be used for teaching, conferences, and exhibitions. the site is flanked by water on both sides and is surrounded by trees and natural vegetation. another feature of the plot was the remnants of a large red brick dining hall with a shallow vaulted roof.

vector architects haibing center
image by chen hao © vector architects (also main image)

 

 

vector architects began the project by exploring how their intervention could respond to the two bodies of water as well as the dining hall. they also wanted to preserve the site’s existing trees as much as possible and their relationship to the site. ‘compared to a strategy of whole scale demolition and rebuilding, an idea focusing on preservation helped us to unite the new with the old in a more authentic way, maintaining the actual history of the location,’ explains the design team.

vector architects haibing center
image by chen hao © vector architects

 

 

the architects worked with the scale and open plan of the original dining hall, dividing it into a central grand hall and a 1,000-capacity multi-functional auditorium. the grand hall is the tallest vertical space of the building, with its concrete roof slab being supported by four giant pillars. entrances are provided to the east, south, and west — meaning that the hall can serve as a space for connection and convergence within the overall layout.

vector architects haibing center
image by chen hao © vector architects

 

 

outside the southern entrance, vector architects also designed a small public plaza enclosed on three sides. the plaza opens out onto the lake to the east and incorporates the southern wall of the dining hall as its northern boundary. the west side, facing the other lake, provides an expansive view, suggesting the scale of the campus. ‘acting as a response, the building on this west side establishes a serene horizontal elevation stretching out in harmony, parallel with the body of water,’ say the architects.

vector architects haibing center
image by su shengliang © vector architects

 

 

classrooms, small and medium sized conference halls, circulation cores, restrooms, and other service spaces are located inside the elevated western volume. the predominately glazed façades ensure views of the building’s natural surroundings, while a copper mesh skin, serving as a sunshade, has been affixed to the western elevation facing the larger body of water.

vector architects completes multifunctional haibing center at china's nankai university
image by chen hao © vector architects

vector architects completes multifunctional haibing center at china's nankai university
image by chen hao © vector architects

vector architects completes multifunctional haibing center at china's nankai university
image by chen hao © vector architects

vector architects completes multifunctional haibing center at china's nankai university
image by chen hao © vector architects

vector architects completes multifunctional haibing center at china's nankai university
image by chen hao © vector architects

vector architects completes multifunctional haibing center at china's nankai university
image by su shengliang © vector architects

vector architects completes multifunctional haibing center at china's nankai university
image by chen hao © vector architects

vector architects completes multifunctional haibing center at china's nankai university
image by chen hao © vector architects

 

 

project info:

 

name: haibing center of nankai university
location: no.93, weijin road, nankai district, tianjin, china
architectural/interior/landscape design: vector architects
design principal: dong gong
project architect: zhang han
collaborating architect: guo liaohui
site architect: zhang liwen,li jinteng
design team: feng chaoying, tao wei, zhang liwen, li jinteng, ma xiaokai, zhao liangliang, chen zhenqiang, wang jian, chang ihsiu, chen gong, edward evva
structural & MEP engineering: china academy of building research
LDI project architect: yang binglian
LDI architect: xu wei
structural design: xiao congzhen, chu dewen, mao yanzhe, zhao shuang
mechanical & electrical design: zhang peng, zhou chuanyong, li xiaofei, dang jian
lighting consultant: toryo international lighting design center
façade consultant: joron sofron architectural consulting co.,ltd.
client: nankai university, zhide foundation of nankai university

 

structure: frame-shear wall structure/frame structure/steel frame structure
material: fair-faced concrete, steel, metal mesh, glass, brick
building area: 6,662 sqm (above ground 5,900 sqm/underground 762 sqm)
design period: 2017.07–2018.11
construction period: 2018.04–2019.09
photography: chen hao, su shengliang