Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center Guizhou Building, South Chinese Commercial Architecture Photos

Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center, Guizhou, China

2 Apr 2021

Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center in Guizhou

Design: West-line Studio

Location: Dafang County, Guizhou Province, South-West China#
Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center, Guizhou
photo : Jingsong Xie

Photos by Haobo Wei unless noted otherwise

Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center By West-line Studio

On a northwestern Guizhou typical plateau, placed at an altitude of above 2,000 meters in-between untouched grassland hills and mountains, stands the Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center. Completed in March 2021, the center was conceived as a landmark to pay homage to the Yi people, an ethnic minority group mainly residing in the mountainous regions and rural areas of South-West China.

Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center, Guizhou
photo : Jingsong Xie

The building grows from a slope with a maximum inclination of 20 degrees, surrounded by mountains all around. Commissioned by the Dafang County Tourism Development Office in order to provide the basic structure to promote tourism in the area, the center aims to become a symbolic landmark celebrating Yi culture.

Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center Guizhou Building

West-line Studio has a long history in building cultural centers in Guizhou province influenced by local ethnic minorities; the practice’s approach has always been characterized by deep research on the peculiar cultural aspects of a particular community, which can result in rites, fabrics, patterns, construction techniques, festivals, and pictograms, in order to bring some of these unique features into the design, creating a strong bond with local culture and collective memory.

Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center Guizhou Building

From thousands of years the Yi people have been considering the plateau a sacred place where to worship heaven and earth and celebrate the ‘Torch Festival’, one of their main holidays. The festival commemorates a famous Yi wrestler who used pine tree torches to stop a locusts’ plague. Symbolism has always played a significant role in West-line Studio’s work, and in this cultural center the connection with Yi ancient culture appears through many layers.

Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center Guizhou Building

First of all the building mass resembles the traditional Yi sacrificial altar, where sacrifices refer to offers. The building, in its simple volume, is characterized by an iconic roof consisting of a concave arc. This architectural gesture aims to show a response to the tension of nature, and again refers to Yi sacrificial symbols.

Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center, Guizhou
photo : Jingsong Xie

The roof establishes a dialogue with the sky through the skylight system and the concave shape works as a rain water collector. Via the gutter system the water vertically flows through the outdoor courtyards, creating a vertical connection of light and rain throughout the building, while solving the internal lighting and ventilation. Another important feature are the outdoor concrete ramps, which with their folding and undulating movement evoke the ascension procession over to hills during the ‘Torch Festival’.

Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center Guizhou Building

The construction system is based on concrete technology mixed with local sand. The sand mixture helps engrave the wooden texture given by the formworks, realized with recycled panels from declining Yi houses and local pine wood.

Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center Guizhou Building Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center Guizhou Building

The rough concrete interiors together with the black metal window frames and ceiling help frame the outdoor landscape, making it the protagonist of the interior atmosphere. The three floors are characterized by a free plan where two structural units combine all the main service functions; this spatial production mode derives from the so called ‘group technology,’ typical of Guizhou mountain villages.

The indoor hanging courtyard, with its red and yellow skylights, creates a holy atmosphere and a sense of ritual space from the contrast between the colored lights and dark space below. The indoor atmosphere is kept dark on purpose so the outdoor bright scenery can stand out; visitors become silent wanderers of the wild grassland and are immersed in a suspended time as gazers of history.

Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center Guizhou Building Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center Guizhou Building

The spatial indoor layout combines the ritual mnemonic structure with a more contemporary functional system. Yi Cultural Center aims to become a wordless monument which stands alone resembling Yi culture through symbolism and in creating a ritual atmosphere.

Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center Guizhou Building

Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center, Guizhou – Building Information

Location: Dafang County, Guizhou Province, China
Practice: West-line Studio
Program: reception, tea room, restaurant, Yi culture ritual and exhibition area, office

Lead Architects: Haobo Wei, Jingsong Xie
Architecture and Landscape: Yudan Luo, Ke Zhou, Minghua Ou, Bin Liu
Structure: Yuanping Li, Dingping Fu
Project Manager: Xuanqin Gong
Client: Guizhou Province Dafang County Keteleeria River Tourism Investment Development Service Co. Ltd

Completion: March 2021
Site Area: 1,565 sqm
Building Area: 2,569 sqm
Floors: 3
Materials: concrete frame structure, black metal frame, insulating glass

Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center Guizhou Building

Photos: Haobo Wei, Jingsong Xie
Credits: West-line Studio

Cuisuba Yi Cultural & Visitor Center in Guizhou, China images / information received 020421 from West-line Studio

Location: Dafang County, Guizhou, China

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