Vector Architect - Gong Dong
Gong Dong was born in 1975. He graduated from Tsinghua University in 1999, studied at the Technical University of Munich and got the MArch at the University of Illinois in 2001. He then worked a few years as an architect in Chicago and New York and started Vector Architects in 2008. In just a few years it has now become an award-winning renowned studio with a very promising future.
During their seven years of practice, they have always believed that design needs to confront problems, and it should be the attitude an architect ought to possess. Instead of enforcing architect's self-conscious or following icons and superficial forms, a good design has to respect the existing environment. The contemporary Chinese design industry today is rather blundering that the rapid production and pursuit of the landmark in height, size and form have become the mainstream. Architects no longer devote their effort to the fundamental and substantial truth of architecture. In this environment, the persistence of confronting problems remains essential and crucial.
With this attitude, the relationship between architecture and living, place and perception, and tectonic in architecture become the core directions in architecture.
Every architecture is a vessel for living that defines user's everyday life to a different extent, consciously or sub-consciously. The definition established upon lifestyles, cultural conditions, site content, local climate and etc; and this is where the new lifestyle starts to evolve from. The new lifestyle, instead of being the repetition of the existing conditions, should be an unprecedented life experience created through design. This is the meaning of new architecture.
In regards to the relationship between place and perception, we believe that every architecture is ought to be the unique object of specific site context. In other words, it becomes meaningless when it is out of its exclusive site. In every project, Vector Architects is devoted to discovering the unrevealing relationship and various possibilities in existing context. Through our design, to create the new perception and experience which are exclusive to each project. The sense of ‘being here’ is uniquely established and reflected in percipient's emotion and action. Therefore, space, being the vessel of living, has formed an irreplaceable connection between place and perception.
The library is located along the seashore of China Bohai Bay. The design key point is focused on exploring the co-existing relationship of the space boundary, the movement of a human body, the shifting light ambiance, the air ventilating through and the ocean view. The library faces the ocean to its east. During seasons of spring, summer, and fall, it not only serves the community residents at west but opens to the public as well.
The design began with sections. The library houses a reading area, a meditation space, activity room, a drinking bar and a resting area. According to each space, we established distinctive relationships between space and the ocean; defined by light and wind that enters each room.
We imagine the Seashore Chapel as an old boat drifting on the ocean for a long time. The ocean receded through time and left an empty structure behind, which is still lying on the beach.
Space is therefore divided vertically. The covered outdoor space naturally becomes a resting place for people on the beach. It is also a space connecting religious space to the mundane life. When the tide rises, this space will be submerged by water. At that moment, the imagery of the drifting boat emerges out of the chapel.
The atmosphere on the upper floor is intensely divine and religious. The spatial experience begins on the 30 meters path leading to the chapel. When people gradually approach, the cue emerges indicating the suspending space on the other side through the gap in the middle of the grand staircases. With a glimpse of the ocean in distance, they walk up the stairs, go through the gate, and make a turn around the screen wall into the space with unblocking ocean view. The relationship between space and the ocean is closed due to the elevated position. The view is isolated from the beach and people, leaving the outstretched ocean as the only view in sight.