23 October 2019

Iconic Benoy project, the Hangzhou Canal Culture & Art Centre, opens its doors

The Hangzhou Canal Culture and Art Centre recently opened its doors to the public. Benoy was involved in the master planning, architecture, interior design and landscaping of the project. The centre is located opposite Hangzhou Joy City mall, a project also designed by Benoy, and built on the site of the former Chengbei Thermal Power Plant.

It is the first urban park-style cultural and art space jointly developed and operated by Joy City and the government of Gongshu District in Hangzhou. The aim was to create a new commercial and art landmark in Hangzhou – one that not only leads the district’s modernization, but also combines its historical features with modern commerce.

In order to reflect the change of development concept from a thermal power plant” to a green park”, the design deliberately blurs the conventional boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces and uses spatial elements such as courtyards, corridors, and roof shading to integrate architecture, industrial elements, and outdoor green spaces as organically as possible, so as to add new experiences for future users. 

The old power plant’s big chimney was once a landmark on Moganshan Road in Hangzhou, and city residents still wax nostalgic about it. Benoy maintained respect for this history in its design while making industrial upgrades. So although the smoke from the plant has vanished into history, the new Chimney Square Park, centring around the site of the former plant, has been developed to preserve this historical site.

The physical space of the Hangzhou Canal Culture and Art Centre is simple, clean and restrained. The first to third floors are unevenly-sized and intertwined. The diverse open function space, under the cover of a complete roof, creates an urban space that is suitable for sitting and lingering, allowing people to enjoy the sunshine, fresh air and natural landscape.

Benoy used the grey space” architectural design concept for the main building. Using grey as the overall construction colour serves as an undertone, and the use of concrete materials is a high-class approach to express neutrality, to showcase the purest and most essential beauty, and to reflect the aesthetics of the times by matching nostalgic connotations of an industrial past with modern simplicity. 

A new cultural landmark in Hangzhou

Demand for cultural experiences has been growing year by year in the area, along with a surging performance art market. However, there are very few theatres and exhibition facilities in the Gongshu District. The Canal Culture and Art Centre, featuring culture and performance arts, is sure to fill the void in the district. The Centre will bring together young people’s favourite art and drama performances, lifestyle fairs, interactive art displays, and various other thematic exhibitions and sharing salons, to forge the first open-air cultural park in Hangzhou while at the same time meeting the daily cultural and leisure needs of surrounding residents.

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Hangzhou Canal Art Center Hand Sketch
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