Bamboo Hill – Tianjin Vision Hill Plaza / Origin Architect
Photographs: Zhi Xia
Text description provided by the architects. In the last few decades, there has been an unprecedented scale of human migration on the land of China. Countless simple youths born in the countryside have left their native land, experienced drifting and tempering, and finally merged into the vast sea of people in the city, becoming a cornerstone of the urban development. However, there are 350,000 pieces of natural bamboo strips from the bamboo sea in the south of the Yangtze River coming to the northern metropolis after traveling about 1,200km, and setting up a stage to support Tianjin’s fashion life. This is an unexpected encounter between the rural nature and the metropolis, and also a long-lost reunion between the wandering youth and the source of life.
Genesis. Vision Hill Park is located at the Tianjin High-tech Zone. The Owner hopes to create a culturally attractive urban space and bring vitality to the young new zone. A few years ago, a group of tall office buildings with tough lines around had shaped, but the very important core area was always facing difficulties–due to historical causes, the central ground was squeezed and divided by six abrupt basement entrance and exit structures, which became a place that people could not avoid, and the overall atmosphere was destroyed. After research and simulation, the idea of promoting continuous ups and downs space by taking advantage of the conditions and conforming to the original defects was proposed to the original architecture, and flexible and vibrant material–bamboo, from natural mountain forests thousands of miles away has been introduced to offset and interact with the surrounding hard urban environment created by concrete, thus forming a central cultural gravitational field that gathers popularity and stimulates energy.
Native / Bamboo. The extensive bamboo sea at the junction of Anji of Zhejiang Province and Anhui Province, is a famous land of bamboo in China, with abundant bamboo resources, and the surrounding areas have a long history of bamboo processing tradition. The tall native bamboo in the mountain forest was harvested and transported down the mountains, and carefully cut into 350,000 slender bamboo strips in nearby villages and towns. Then, these bamboo strips were bent, shaped and combined by hand one by one according to their properties of flexibility and natural bending. The unique life tension contained in each bamboo strip has been solidified with unique curvature and merged into a bunch of elegant flowing curves.
Travelling. Since leaving the mountain forest, the native bamboo has travelled through mountain roads, village roads, provincial highways, national highways, and expressways, and then moved to Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, and Hebei provinces. 350,000 pieces of native bamboo strips arrive in the metropolis after travelling thousands of miles day and night with extended heavy trucks in batches. When they are finally re-rooted and fixed on the bamboo skeleton in the Vision Hill central area, the bamboo strips have reappeared the continuous mountains in their memory with their own bodies.
Symbiosis. 2D bamboo strip curves retreating layer by layer stack up 3D undulating bamboo hills. The new body and the old structure depend on each other and coexist, transforming an original negative obstacle on the site into two layers of positive space. Above the bamboo, it is a whole continuous landscape suitable for all kinds of large-scale open activities, and the space and perspective flow and change, which stimulates people’s fun of exploration and diversified use. Under the bamboo, it covers several enclosed independent exhibition spaces, and mottled light and shadow are sprinkled through the gap of bamboo strips, which give consideration to transparency and privacy concurrently.
The main body of the hill is constructed by the combination of native bamboo strips, heavy bamboo beams, and steel joints. The symbiotic structure with the open flow in the central area is in sharp contrast with the high-rise concrete buildings enclosed around. In the dialogue between suavity and rigidity, the relaxed atmosphere and vitality gradually breed.
As a living material, bamboo has a unique cultural and emotional connection with oriental people. At the beginning of construction, how many hands touched, bent, polished, carried, and assembled each bamboo strip, and how many people will stand, sit or lie down on it after completion, all intimate contact with bamboo with all parts of the body. While injecting fresh natural experience into the concrete metropolis, this bamboo is no longer the naive bamboo in the bamboo sea.
Postscript. Thanks to the Owner’s attentive operation, today’s Hill Square has become a popular urban public space for young people in high-tech zones, such as open-air movies, summer music festivals, art fairs, pop concerts, modern parties, and even the blind date carnival that young people have repeatedly asked for … Countless stories have been staged on this bamboo, and this hill has been integrated with the life memories of urban young people.