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The open plaza facing Haichuan Road is generously scaled to provide visitors an impressive yet welcoming entrance, with the inviting central water feature providing the first element in the project’s organizing long axis. Symmetrical green hedges and low landscape walls on either side subtly define the boundaries of this ‘urban lobby’, while adding a heightened sense of ceremony to the hotel-style drop-off area.
Gently cascading water falls from a simple yet refined water feature with a gently inverted form. By following the water’s path to its source, visitors are led along the project’s axis to a downsized reflective pond.
In creating the first impressions of this spatial experience, the central water feature offers a calming aesthetic purity removed from urban visual clutter. The smoothly flowing water at its lower level runs within a deep pool, and as visitors follow it along its length they are led through to the public building lobby and then to discover the lush sunken courtyard beyond.
Setting itself apart from more conventional community green spaces and lawns, the Courtyard Forest is planted with attractive plants and flowers such as sage, delphinium, nepeta, and chrysanthemum to create a colorfully lined pathway. Under the shadow of numerous trees, the path extends between the two inner entrances of the Living Hall, with several trapezoidal stone platforms inviting guests to linger and enjoy the open air. Additionally, a dripping water feature animates the building façades of the courtyard.
The stone platforms form a series of landscaped steps within the garden; the cumulative effect of the various platforms, pools, and abundant planting is one of sensory delight, allowing visitors to forget any sense of discomfort from being within a sunken space. The water feature forming a curtain of water droplets falling from the cantilevered observation platform provides another element of interaction and surprise.
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