The Shanghai-based studio Lacime Architects was responsible for developing Shimao Longyin Leisure Center. This leisure center is situated within the Suzhou Industrial Park, a modern industrial township built in collaboration between China and Singapore to support international cooperation and new ways of living. The layout based around a series of classical Chinese gardens to forge serene outdoor circulation areas. Also, the design team developed the leisure center as a contemporary interpretation of Suzhou’s traditional architecture.
To introduce elements that represent the region’s rich heritage of classical Chinese garden design, Lacime Architects worked with landscaping firm Landao International Design. The inner space of the leisure center blended together with the landscape using asymmetrical spatial mode. This strategy helps to create a traditional spatial pattern in the Suzhou Garden Style.
Most of the site for the leisure center is dedicated to landscaping and the production of a carefully designed walking route that gives different perspectives of the building whenever the guests move around the area. There are three main courtyards set along the route to generate what the architecture team described as ‘symmetry and orderliness’. This defines the character of the leisure center site.
Through large entrance gates, the guests can access outdoor space with a circular pond at its center. Beyond this, there is an elongated courtyard featuring a series of reflecting pools that contain a gravel garden and trees.
Sweeping down from the entrance courtyard, there’s a pair of ramps that connect with facilities accommodated on a basement level. These spaces can also be accessed through stairs beneath the surface of another reflecting pool surrounded by the building’s upper floors.
Aside from the garden, the architecture team also referred to traditional Suzhou houses. The houses usually feature blank gable ends topped with asymmetrically curved roofs.
The Shimao Longyin Leisure Centre comes with halls that feature similar sweeping roofs in different proportions and heights. These roofs are clad with tiles, except the entrance pavilion which comes with a slatted metal canopy. Most of the facades are clad in metal panels or white stone, while the elevations that surround a central pool are fully glazed to make sure the internal spaces attain enough daylight.
The glass curtain walls are organized behind a ribbed surface that relives the look of a traditional colonnaded courtyard. The gable ends of the main hall are covered with a delicate patterned lattice that is different in density across its surface.