Je Shui Pavilion
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Invitational Exhibition of 2012 Tectonic Becoming

Location: Hsinchu, Taiwan
Design: February,2009-September.2009
Building: September,2009-May,2012
Site Area: 3543.81㎡
Subtotal Area: 601㎡
Concept, Design and Construction

The site was once co-inhabited by a ceramic factory and a firefly sanctuary. Inside the factory building, there were manufacturing facilities and warehouses; Outside the building, it was a natural reserve for fireflies with many giant rocks and big trees. When the ceramic industry relocated its factories overseas, the factory building was deserted and abandoned; firefly watching became a past memory. With opportunities brought by the new urban center development, Banmu Architects got the chance to renovate the old building and inject the site with new life.

The site is guarded by an Earth God that has been here for many many years, as well as green fences that delineate the site from its neighboring lands. The old and small temple of the Earth God is given a new temple-court to mark the entrance of Ruo-Shui Pavilion. Accompanying the temple, there are four old banyan trees; together, they enclose a big green lawn that is turned into a public square. Beyond the temple, one of the banyan trees, on a small mound, alludes to a path. Following the path around a huge rock, visitors may reach the main lobby of Je Shui Pavilion.

This is a project of reinvigoration – respecting the context and introducing new activities. The existing factory building is an L-shape with a longer wing and a shorter wing. We renovated only the shorter wing and primarily on the first floor. By removing walls on the northwestern end of the building, a corridor, severing the L into two halves, is created to connect the outdoor spaces and enhance airflow. This improves natural ventilation, as well as enabling natural lighting, to achieve a comfortable indoor environment, in place of stuffy and dark warehouse spaces.

A 12-meter long, fair-faced concrete wall is a key character of the spatial play in the southwestern half of the building. The wall slices from exterior into interior, and cuts the original space into two rooms – the kitchen to the east and the main hall to the west. Visitors from the entrance are guided by the concrete wall into the kitchen for a relaxing welcome. The main hall is created by removing an old furnace and walls to break free from the old building façade. We introduce glass walls and doors, open to all directions, to achieve a pavilion. Here, visitors may move freely between indoors and outdoors while the wind flows freely, and the light bounces freely, in and out. In the main hall, the outdoor nature permeates inside and becomes the leading role of the spatial play.

We make use of the low and flat warehouse space, with colors of dark-greyish tone to further compress the space. Visitors, in this dim setting, are naturally drawn to the views outside. Furthermore, the contrast between the dark interior and the bright outdoors highlights the nature outdoors, where green grass shines shining under the glory of the sunlight.

The outdoor spaces are rehabilitated into a self-sustainable garden. First, the original concrete and tar pavement is removed and replaced with soft earth and gravels. Then, a pond is introduced, together with the huge rocks from the old firefly sanctuary, to recreate a habitat that is suitable for plants and insects. The habitat is biologically diverse with various types of plants and physical settings, earth, porous gravel and water – a self-sustainable micro ecosystem that needs no care from people.

Je Shui Pavilion is a place where big trees grow freely and insects can prosper. Even though, it is right next to busy city traffic, with careful design and adjustment, we provide a safe and tranquil place for the busy souls to rest.