Image Credit : Arch-Exist, San Lengjing


Project Overview

Situated in Xushuguan Town, Suzhou New District, the project is surrounded by old neighborhoods and to-be-developed land, with a noisy and desolate environment. The site is located at a crossroads, with a depth of about 35 meters and a length of about 55 meters. This project is only 500 meters away from the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal in a straight line. Seated on the east bank of the ancient canal, Xushuguan Town has been prosperous since ancient times and was founded in the Qin Dynasty with a history of more than 2,000 years.

On the spot, we noticed that Xushuguan's profound cultural and historical heritage and prosperity in the old days. However, in the development and construction of modern cities, the traces of the Xushuguan history and culture are gradually dissipating. Accordingly, we hope to use modern design techniques and materials to extend the cultural and historical lineage of Xushuguan and create a modern community center available to interpret its traditional spatial context. In the design, we has extracted the basic forms and elements from the old town fabric and the surrounding historical buildings to express the contradictory beauty of tradition and modern structure.

Project Commissioner

Shanghai PTArchitects

Project Creator

SUNAC & Nanchang Municipal Government


Chief Designer: Reng Xiangyi, Cheng Biao
Design Team: Xia Dacang, Ru Si, Yu Chen, Jingyu, Hu Hongyi, Li Yanli, Chen Bin, Wu Dinglong, Hou Xianwu, Sun Xin, Yang Xue

Project Brief

As for the architectural form, we extracted the sloping roof from the local traditional architecture form in modern techniques to form three sloping roofs. Between two consecutive sloping roofs and one independent sloping roof, the space is linked by a section of flat roof, forming a simple and staggered folded facade profile. It is staggered in height according to function and sight lines. For materials, we adopted stone curtain wall on the gables and roofs to strengthen the unity sense of the folding line and use a large glass curtain wall to greatly incorporate the courtyard landscape into the indoor view and achieve "borrowing scene" and indoor-outdoor interaction, presenting a poetic penetration. For the stone wall, the application of metal inserts delineates the beauty of the wall's planar composition and echoes the application of line elements in oriental architecture.

Project Innovation/Need

In the traditional architecture of Suzhou and Xushuguan, black bricks are the main material for walls, and in Suzhou gardens, there are also openwork treatments to achieve the effect of borrowing scenery and spatial interaction. For the Peak Art project, the wall surface is also partially treated with hollowed out black bricks. Pearl blue and hollowed out black bricks are close in tone, and the matte surface treatment of pearl blue stone echoes and sets off the rougher surface texture of bricks, echoing the local traditional architectural tones and textures with modern materials and techniques.

Design Challenge

Because it is a relatively confined triangular site, the design draws on the Suzhou Garden path to create a sense of spatial hierarchy and playfulness, with the intention of achieving the effect of the small to reflect the large. The buildings are arranged along the long side of the north side as far as possible to leave space for the landscape site; the entrance and the corridor are arranged in an enclosed layout, which shields the noisy and undesirable factors to be developed outside the site and keep the internal space pure. The enclosed veranda, along the urban interface, adopts the translucent U-shaped glass in construction to achieve "ambiguous" communication between the inside and outside of the space.


In the architectural design, we have integrated sustainable concepts and green materials, taking local trees for the landscape planting to reflect the diverse ecology of the area. For the interior courtyard, we have used permeable surfaces and landscaping and installed a rainwater harvesting system to reuse water for irrigation.

Hopefully, Peak Art can evoke the heritage and revival of the deep historical and cultural heritage of Xushuguan Old Town, as well as its urban memory, realizing the renewal of the urban interface with a garden-style layout and a modern approach to the facade form and bringing warmth and harmony to the neighborhoods.

This award celebrates the design process and product of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, and aesthetic considerations. Consideration given for material selection, technology, light and shadow. 
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