Aluminium Mountain

With the aim of incorporating sci-fi design ideas in to the surrounding nature, Wutopia Lab has designed a new building for a traditional Chinese Medicine Health Industrial Park Exhibition Centre in Guangdong, China.
9 October, 2020
This unique project, which consists of three mostly subterranean cone-shaped buildings, has been named 'The Aluminium Mountain' and is surrounded by an undulating landscape.

Inspired by a phrase from Chinese literature 'one sea and three mountains', Chief Architect Yu Ting decided to create three 'mountains' through the architecture, using the basic geometry of the circle and cone, based on Daoist's philosophy.
He believed that the best material for the building would be aluminium due to its lightweight physicality and visual subtlety. He explained this to the Archdaily: "The 'slivering' aluminum board would be an ideal material for the mountain. There should be a moment when the heavy mass and texture of the aluminum material 'dissolves', providing a perfect foil for the lightness of the mountain. Using this thinking, I used three different aluminum boards with perforation rates of 45, 60 and 70 so the mountain goes from dense to sparse from top to bottom. The effect was that the mountain looked overwhelmingly heavy most of the day but lost its imposing look when perceived from certain angles. At night, with the lights on, the mountain would lose its materiality and be transformed into an enormous mountain of lamp. In this way, the mountain assumed an ethereal look."
Most of the exhibition centre's functions are hidden underground, beneath an aluminium roof which stands above six concrete columns. A beautiful 11.9m spiral staircase rises from the basement to the entrance at the top where artificial fog is pumped out. The interiors use a palette of greys to duplicate the style of the outer architecture.

The artificial mountains are surrounded by water, and visitors can even take a little boat from the reception to the main centre, experiencing the architecture in a peaceful manner. Yu Ting calls it the 'palace of our time'.

"I wanted to create a slowed sense of time. I used continuous circles to form the underground space, a bubble-like maze that included the foyer, display zone, video room, conference room, model exhibition space, art gallery, office and toilets. I hoped that visitors could lose their sense of time and space. In a layered maze, we might feel that time has slowed down. The central exhibition space was a triple height space, serving as the highest mountain among the three. The other two functioned as sinology space and VIP rooms. Wind blew through the ground floor, underneath the third mountain. What was left was nothing but time."

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