Changzhou Culture Plaza by Lichtvision Design
Location: Changzhou China
Status: Completed, 2020
The Changzhou Culture Plaza is embedded in a park in the new city centre of the Chinese megacity Changzhou. In the basement of the six buildings, there are retail areas and restaurants. On the floors above, exhibition areas, museums (including a science and technology museum) and a library form the cultural core of the plaza. The special feature of the 363,715 square metre building complex is its sculptural architecture: six, free-standing pavilions cantilevering upwards in large arches, creating an expansive, segmented roof. At the base, each pavilion’s volume decreases on two sides, opening up a covered public space that merges into the surrounding park on all sides.
A watercourse flows through the 17-hectare site and connects each pavilion. Daylight comes through the openings between the pavilions and reaches the shops, restaurants, and the watercourse in the basement. Working with both GMP Architekten and the landscape architects at WES, Lichtvision had to fulfil the façade and public space lighting per the architect’s specifications while also creating the atmosphere around the watercourse and landscape desired by the landscape architect.
One challenge to the façade lighting was the sheer size of the architecture. Each individual pavilion rises 50 metres into the air. Although each building serves different functions on the inside, they are intended to form a singular, coherent, architectural unit on the outside. Uniform façade lighting emphasises this very unity. Using high pole lights around the complex, Lichtvision is able to carry out this design intent. The homogeneous floodlighting emphasises the sculptural appearance of the pavilions and their cantilevered structure. Poles were also used for the general lighting of the streets and pedestrian areas. To distribute the light optimally and to enhance zoning and orientation, higher poles highlight the spatial axis, while lower poles accentuate the entrance areas around the plaza. From the cantilever edges, the central public space between the pavilions is illuminated creating a meeting point and inviting passersby to take a break. Façade details are emphasised by linear light that blends into the architecture. Additionally, white and coloured lights are integrated into the horizontal slats of all inward-facing façades.
In the late afternoon, decreasingly less natural daylight reaches the watercourse in the basement. Then underwater linear lights illuminate the waterfront, water features, cascades, and the water basin at night. The artificial lighting visually enhances the water on the riverside promenade. Other distinctive elements such as trees and sculptures are illuminated by recessed floor luminaires. Linear luminaires are integrated into benches and handrails. At night, the lighting design sets the scene for the architectural features and natural elements. The lighting concept reinforces the architectural unity of the pavilions and makes the cultural centre appear as if it were radiating from within.