Weifang University Canteen
Location: Weifang, China
Client: Weifang Science and Technology University
Date: TBC Completion
Total Area: 12,150m2
AZPML: Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Maider Llaguno-Munitxa, Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal, Manuel Eijo, Donghua Chen, Lidia Martinez, Policarpo del Canto
The Canteen sits on the North side of the Mall and mediates between the Mall and the ecological promenade. It includes a ground floor level of 6,500m2, a storage and service basement of 3,000m2, and a mezzanine of 2,650m2. The Canteen building furnishes the opportunity to create an artificial topography along the University Mall, in order to produce a more theatrical topography along a rather flat topography.
Our inspiration comes from Chinese Scholar’s Rocks, and their exploration of natural aesthetics as an artificial, carefully created natural object. The seamless blending between the natural and the artificial that occurs in ancient Chinese architecture.
In Weifang, the topography will be created by a deformation of the ground which uses a system of ramps to produce skylights above large footprint of the Canteen building. The building will operate as a landscape feature in the Mall, a sort of baroque ramp of monumental proportions which will provide a series of accessible decks from which people can look at events in the Mall and in the main square. The structure of the ramped roof is such that it produces a series of South-facing skylights which will lit the canteen spaces, and provide opportunities for climate control and natural ventilation.
The decks will be partially planted with grass and bushes in order to retain water on the roof. The side elevations will be entirely clad with an all glass curtain wall, protected from the sun by lateral ramps.
In designing the Canteen we have tried to maintain the uses as close to the ground level as possible, and we have fitted the publicly accessible requirements on the ground level and a mezzanine. The storage, processing and recycling facilities of the building have been sunken underground. The kitchen is concentrated on the southern side of the building, where the roof is still not very high, in order to reserve the more monumental spaces for the dining areas.
The structure was designed in precast reinforced concrete. The columns are placed perpendicular to the roof creating a tilted field of columns producing a disconcerting, unbalanced and dynamic space. The 2,650m2 mezzanine level is accessible also from the roof and the ramp systems which wraps around the building on the E, W and N sides.