Linpan Cloud Eye: Chengdu Dayi Rural Neighborhood Center / Archi-Union Architects

Architects: Archi-Union Architects
Area: 868 m²
Year: 2022
Ke Wang
Architect: Philip F. Yuan (Tongji University)
Design Team: Weizhe Gao, Bei Zhang, Yuan Zhang, Kang Liu (Architecture); Tao Huang, Zejiu Chen, Peng Cheng (Structure); Dawei Wei, Yong Wang (Mechanical and Electrical); Ju Wang, Xiaying Lu (Interior)
Digital Construction Technology: Shanghai Fab-union Technology Co., Ltd
Developer: KWG Group Holdings Limited
City: Chengdu
Country: China

Linpan Cloud Eye: Chengdu Dayi Rural Neighborhood Center, designed by Archi-Union Architects, completed in May 2022 in Qingxia Town, Dayi, integrates with its natural surroundings. The center features a three-story courtyard design with activity spaces and viewing terraces. It harmonizes with the landscape, incorporating bamboo forests and creating seamless indoor-outdoor transitions. The design includes traditional Sichuan bamboo weaving and advanced construction techniques, making it a social hub for cultural and community health services.

Linpan cloud eye: chengdu dayi rural neighborhood center / archi-union architects

In May 2022, the “Lin Pan Cloud Eye” Rural Neighborhood Center was completed, taking 8 months from conceptual design to on-site acceptance. The Dayi Yunshang Rural Neighborhood covers approximately 11,000 acres and is located in Qingxia Town, Dayi. The project site is about a 50-minute drive from Chengdu city along the Cheng Wen Qiong Expressway.

The site is located within a turnoff, a ten-minute drive from the resort entrance. It extends north-south along the mountain, with a stream flowing into it from the east, surrounded by a lush bamboo forest. The design team focused on how the new space would integrate with the original landscape. They aimed to naturally blend the new structure with the mountain, retaining the natural bamboo forest and creating a small courtyard that follows the topography. The courtyard is vertically stacked, with one or two floors of activity space and three floors of viewing terraces, forming a parallel relationship with the vertical mountain cliffs. Hidden within the bamboo forest and mountain, the courtyard resembles the “forest plate” in western Sichuan, featuring a house, a courtyard, water, and bushes.

Sitting in the three-story courtyard, the mountain stream is surrounded by clouds in the morning. From the fence, one can see the distant fields and hills, while the mountain scenery at the back penetrates outward through a roof opening, forming a window where internal and external landscapes meet. This concept is referred to as “cloud eyes.” The “forest plate” represents external space, blurring the boundary between artificial and natural elements. The “cloud eye” acts as a bridge connecting internal and external spaces, linking nature with the mountains and fields. The outline configuration follows the undulating mountains, extending and folding along the vertical trend in space. Boundaries between “inside and outside,” “roof and facade,” and “top and ground” are blurred by geometric topology, creating a sense of non-directional space. The roof is torn at the second and third floors to form shading for the facade and terrace, defining the relationship between “being seen” and “seeing” through geometric transformations. The ground floor entrance does not directly face the external road; instead, pedestrians follow a bamboo fence to reach the courtyard entrance. The flowing roof serves as the entrance canopy, while the outdoor platforms on the second and third floors vertically overlap in this space. The progressive spatial rhythm guides a transition from the calm exterior space of the courtyard to the nodal space at the building entrance, leading from motion to stillness.

The rural neighborhood center serves two main purposes: cultural and community health services. It features a continuous roof system, creating a cohesive vertical layout. Three outdoor spaces surround the center: an entrance bamboo courtyard, a green courtyard for community activities, and a landscaped terrace on the third floor. Due to the rainy climate, traditional constructions in western Sichuan include semi-outdoor walking spaces, or “covered walkways,” for protection against wind and rain. This design extends to the traffic organization within the community center, where multiple pathways and large openings connect outdoor and indoor spaces, ensuring seamless sightlines and circulation. The community center manages three types of pedestrian flows: lingering, crossing, and mingling. It accommodates various groups, including vacation resort residents, nearby community residents, center users, and administrators. Activities such as strolling, gathering, performances, reading, extracurricular tutoring, and training take place in designated areas. However, the open and fluid design allows for positive interactions among all users. The aim is for the community center to become a vibrant social hub, energizing public life.

The first floor features elevated areas, giving the building a suspended appearance above the bamboo grove. This design extends the gray space to an outdoor courtyard surrounded by low bamboo fences, allowing visitors to easily view the distant pastoral landscape of the grasslands. The second floor has a more restrained character, with a downward-sloping roof system that creates a distinct space for the community center. Viewing platforms on both sides are enclosed, enhancing privacy. Handcrafted bamboo weaving on the interior and exterior ceilings brings the material’s natural properties and craftsmanship closer to users, making the space more comfortable. The third floor is an open outdoor space, fully exposed to nature and the surrounding environment. Open from north to south, this level forms a visual corridor. From the platform, visitors can see the mountain behind the building and enjoy views of the creek and campground to the south. The surrounding mountains create a natural frame, giving the sensation of standing amidst the mountains rather than inside a building. The traditional sloping roof invites close observation, allowing people to appreciate its form and texture. This design enables users to experience an immersive connection with both space and nature.

The roof structure system comprises three circular curved beams arranged from the inside out, with complex curvature variations that make traditional beam-column joints unsuitable. The structural design of the “cloud eye” follows a form-based logic. By using the form curve to position the three circular steel beams, a uniformly distributed connecting beam is created digitally. These curves are then converted into straight lines to ensure accuracy, greatly reducing processing costs, and resulting in a unified structural cover for the roof. The interior and exterior facades are adorned with locally crafted bamboo weaving, embodying the concept of sourcing materials and art from the region. This integration includes traditional bamboo weaving techniques from Sichuan, incorporating cultural heritage into the physical space. Natural, local handicrafts are used instead of traditional hard materials for the interior ceiling surfaces and handrail surfaces.

Intelligent construction has introduced new creative perspectives for rural development. The “water wall,” 3D printed by robots, serves as the central element of spatial division, translating the dynamic and natural imagery of water into digital form. In the initial design phase, algorithms captured the momentary dynamics of still creek water, expressing this dynamic process through a textural architectural language. The resulting folded texture was compiled into machine-readable code, enabling robots to complete the prefabrication of wall panels. This achieved an intelligent, end-to-end process from algorithm-driven design to robot-assisted additive prefabrication construction. Although the project is not large in scale, it requires significant effort from a large team of researchers and designers. The integration of digital design technology with architectural tradition and the humanistic environment represents a new direction for rural construction. This creative process honors both culture and nature, balancing “architectural form” and “natural form” within constructive principles. Grounded in technology while returning to nature, this approach aims to gain affirmation for this innovative endeavor.

Linpan cloud eye: chengdu dayi rural neighborhood center / archi-union architects
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Project Location

Address: Qingxia Town, Dayi County, Chengdu, Sichuan, 611330, China

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