LOPO Project: TIMES I-CITY
Developer: TIMES CHINA
Leading Architect: Ann Yu
Landscape Design: BOX
Location: Dali, Foshan
Terracotta Brick Manufacturer: LOPO CHINA
Being the latest project of Times China in Foshan, China, the Global Makers Town aims to create an innovation and entrepreneurship eco-chain of "Makers' space, incubator, accelerator and industrial park". With distinct features of makers, the future-oriented town claims to be the first of its kind, bringing together industry, business, education, culture and ecology. LOPO China teamed up with Ann Yu (Yu Lin) from DOMANI and participated in the construction of Phase 1 of the project: the TIMES I-City, which was opened to the public in August 2021.
The TIMES I-City adopts integrated design of architecture, landscape and interior. The entire landscape is made of 1.7 million pieces of various bricks from LOPO China. The architects choose this special material to render a more holistic, smooth and dynamic architectural space design.
The overall structure of the TIMES I-City features a rectangular shape. In the upper part of the façade of the front and both sides of the building, the architects used small terracotta slabs with aluminum pendants and steel members, to form a stack of small equilateral triangular structures. Thus, a transparent and well-balanced geometric curtain wall is built, bringing sufficient natural light into the building. The lower part of the building is designed with large, cambered arches to contrast the original square-shaped space, rendering more spatial connection and interaction between the building and its surroundings.
Outside the TIMES I-City is an open-ended plaza. Being an extension of the main building, the outdoor landscape applies the same building material (facing bricks) and adopts geometric construction of large circles and triangles to form an interconnected outdoor plaza space. A large circular waterscape is designed in the center of the TIMES I-City while the bottom of the pool is made of bricks in a dispersion pattern, with the water rippling and a delightful contrast, it highlights the natural texture of the long bricks. When night falls with the lights on, the interior and exterior of the building are illuminated. Echoing with the ripples in the outdoor pool, a distinctive and unique landscape is perfectly formed.
To the right of the TIMES I-City is a green lawn. Decorated with circular Clay Paver walkway and surrounded by the clay face brick fence, the geometric construction of the outdoor area enriches the spatial hierarchy of the landscape while harmonizing people with the nature and architecture. With delicate and well thought design, everything within the scene starts to "flow and glow".
The top of the building is designed with height adjustment. The corridor forms a canyon space, and thanks to the natural light from the patio, a natural light and shadow effect is casted inside the building immediately. The cascading handmade terracotta wall forms an interesting interaction with the light, presenting a different interplay of light and shade at different moments of the day. The interior spaces feature terracotta tiling, with long bricks and small Terracotta Panels dotted on large areas of the floor, walls and ceiling, while the partitions between the interior and the corridor are achieved through the presence of terracotta baguettes.
TIC, DOMANI & LOPO CHINA
In total, the TIMES I-City uses over 20,000 square meters of clay bricks (approximately 1.7 million bricks), and this becomes the hallmark of the building. The clay face bricks used in the design of the TIMES I-City are of 16 various sizes, ranging from the smallest size of 45*15*15mm to the largest size of 368*1123*18mm. A wide range types of tiles from LOPO are used, including long format bricks, floor tiles, small terracotta slabs, clay bricks and terracotta baguettes. However, the biggest challenge for us is not the size, but the color and surface of the tiles. The designer selected 14 flashing shades of bricks, all of which were kiln-fired (with various glazes on the surface) and needed to present a natural random texture on the surface. For this reason, we worked together with the designer and spent most of the year on fine tuning before finalizing the colors of the finished product. LOPO China's engineers went the extra mile by making constant adjustments and experiments in the production process to ensure that the color was consistent across different product categories, guaranteeing a perfect presentation of the final project.
This marks the second collaboration between LOPO China and DOMANI. Previously, in another project - Dreamland Club of Times China, architect Yu Lin boldly used terracotta baguettes in the whole building (interior and exterior, walls, floors and ceilings). It is her thorough understanding, in-depth thinking and innovative use of artchitectural terracotta as an architectural element that resulted in a stunning architectural presentation of this classic product. We can also feel the love of the architects for terracotta and the vitality of Terracotta Cladding themselves. In the years ahead, we will continue our collaboration with the architects with great enthusiasism in the pioneering and exploratory journey.
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