Here in EarthTechling’s Green Building department, we’re fans of designs that make a conscious effort to blur the line between indoor and outdoor space. That includes modern strategies like living walls (whether employed inside or outside the building) and old fashioned ones like courtyards and atriums. A green building from the latter category that caught our eye recently is the DQZ Cultural Center in the city of Daqiuzhuang, about 200 kilometers south of Bejing (which comes to us via eVolo).
Built around a large plaza filled with diverse forms of plant life, the Center was conceived of as mimicking the marshland topography of the area, combining landscape, vegetation and urban space. That courtyard/plaza acts as a kind of atrium for the building, and with a design derived from the traditional Chinese square. The building that wraps around it is distinctive in shape, in that it lifts off the ground at two corners, offering direct entry to the green space within.
The center was designed for public exhibitions as well as community use, adapting to different sorts of programs and functions as required. A perforated steel façade allows for natural ventilation while diffusing direct sunlight and absorbing the unwanted heat associated with solar gain. The building makes use of geo-thermal wells for heating and cooling, and pulls power from solar photovoltaic panels integrated into different areas of the roof as well as the public plaza.
Step into the inner courtyard and enjoy a landscape of cherry trees and terraces, where you might even be able to catch a local theater production, or attend a festival. And if you happen to duck inside the building, you won’t miss any of the spectacle, as the central exhibition space of the building is visually connected to the courtyard through large glass facades, bringing the outdoors in.