in the guangxi province of china is the ancient city of liuzhou, characterized by a dramatic topography carved away by the liujiang river. sited in liuzhou city is suiseki hall, behind which stand two mountains. while one mountain stands tall and steep, the other is much shorter and rounder. in this way, the two contrasting landforms exist in harmony. to echo this relationship, zhanghua architects conceived the project as a dichotomy of contrasting formal languages. the volume of the building is generated by the gradated negotiation between the angular rear face and the curving front face.

zhanghua liuzhou suiseki hall
images courtesy of zhanghua architects

 

 

zhanghua architects designed the building fundamentally as an amassment of serial sections. the translation between a linear profile and a curved profile results in a formally unusual, in-between space — an uncanny landscape. the design team elaborates: ‘from the cultural point view of, in chinese landscape culture, a mountain and a stream are not opposite but a harmony worldview. mountain and flowing water like ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ are the performance of all things. two sides is a unity of opposites and can transform into each other between the two. the heavy part is earth, while the light part is heaven. such thought is not only an literal ideal of the intellectuals, a comprehension ancient people feel about nature, but also a phenomenon we can observe in nature.

zhanghua liuzhou suiseki hall

 

 

the architects continue:in karst landform, the stone surface pattern under the impact of fast-flowing water will have manifold changes. this is a special texture of stone water lines in the impact of years of water erosion, which I call the solidification of water. on other side, high temperatures will change stone into liquid form too. this special liquid under high temperature at the sudden change in temperature will also show the characteristics of the water, still filled with a sense of movement. the various changes described above belong to the topological fractal transformation or change in the geometry.

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  • What language is “suiseki”? Certainly not Chinese.

    Liuzhou Laowai says:
  • Suiseki is Japanese and in Chinese characters means shuishi 水石

    André says:

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