The New Jiang Wan Cultural Center, designed by RTKL Associates, is comprised of two levels with an underground parking area totaling nearly 65,000 square feet. The Center, 10 miles from the People’s Square, provides exhibition, education, and entertainment facilities as well as a park-like refuge for the residents of Shanghai. As part of a large, new mixed-use development, the project was also intended to inspire ecological sensitivity and community awareness of the interdependent relationship between society and environment. The American firm produced an innovative design born of ecological considerations and technologies. With two levels of public facilities, the design provides fluidity and transparency between interior and exterior spaces. The undulating roof forms merge the building and earth with landscaping on the roof deck, creating a microclimate for the interior as well as shade for deck activities. This symbiotic plan determined the use of wood and stone with earth-themed materials, colors, lighting, and textures. It is a multi-dimensional configuration of contrasting elevations, sweeping curves and angled walls reflected in natural and artificial pools sited along the land base.
RTKL Associates took a comprehensive approach both conceptually and technically. Sustainable planning includes the orientation of the building, integration with the site, thermal control, natural ventilation, solar energy, and use of recycled and eco-sound materials well as methods. The building is positioned to maximize the setting and, at the same time, avoid unwanted solar penetration. Walls are positioned to block low angle western sunlight while maintaining visibility into the interior for a sense of openness to the surroundings. Deep recesses on the east side mitigate morning sun and create a series of semi-outdoor terraces overlooking the wetland beyond. A double-layered wall system forms protective buffer zones for several high-volume areas protruding above the roof plane and help release interior exhausts via a chimney effect. For energy efficiency, solar panels were installed atop several of the projecting towers. One notable aspect of the building is that it is clad largely in local granite and recyclable composite wood panels. These were manufactured by combining recycled wood waste with PVC resins to produce a granular material, visually compatible with the granite.