Like a dragon. The building on the water – Shihlien Chemical by Álvaro Siza with Carlos Castanheira

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PROJECT The building on the water – Shihlien Chemical
ARCHITECT Álvaro Siza with Carlos Castanheira
LOCATION Huai’an City, Jiangsu, China
YEAR 2014
PHOTO Fernando Guerra I FG+SG

Like a coiled, sleeping dragon, this office building floats on the water of the lake, which is also the dam for the Shihlien Chemical Industrial factory in Huai’an, Jiangsu province, PRC. The idea of placing the main office building on water was implicit in the master plan for the factory, as this primarily chemical industry needs a reservoir to ensure its permanent, constant production.
The curved shape of the volume, accessed across two bridges, makes it seem to move as one approaches and moves away.

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The extremely simple organization is distributed on two levels: the main entrance is on the east side, where the central foyer provides access to the work area in a southfacing unit, with another north-facing unit for the social and exhibition zones. The service entrance, restaurant and kitchen areas all face north. The administration zones and facilities of the associate companies are on the upper floor.
The highlights of the main body include the volumes for the special zones such as the meeting rooms and the auditorium Stairs, bridges and a ramped bridge facilitate accessibility, functionality and circulation between the spaces.
White concrete, aluminum/wood window frames and glass characterize the materiality of the building in contrast to the fluidity of the water body that supports it.
The building moves, always displaying its different forms with controlled elegance, exposed to light and shadows, with changing colors and reflections.
As architecture should be.

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BIOGRAPHY
ÁLVARO JOAQUIM DE MELO SIZA VIEIRA WAS BORN IN MATOSINHOS IN 1933. HE STUDIED ARCHITECTURE AT THE FINE ARTS SCHOOL OF PORTO BETWEEN 1949 AND 1955, AND ITS FIRST PROJECT IN 1954. HE WORKS IN PORTO CITY AND HAS RECEIVED NUMEROUS AWARDS AND HONORS INCLUDING THE PRITZKER PRIZE IN 1992, THE WOLF PRIZE FOR THE ARTS IN 2001, THE RIBA’S ROYAL GOLD MEDAL IN 2009 AND THE GOLDEN LION FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AT THE 13TH INTERNATIONAL ARCHITECTURE EXHIBITION VENICE IN 2012.

CARLOS CASTANHEIRA, LISBON, JUNE 1957. GRADUATED IN ARCHITECTURE FROM THE SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS IN PORTO (1976-1981). IN 1993 HE FOUNDED THE PRACTICE CARLOS CASTANHEIRA & CLARA BASTAI, ARQUITECTOS LDª WITH THE ARCHITECT MARIA CLARA BASTAI. WORKING MAINLY IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, HE HAS ACTED AS JUROR ON COMPETITION PANELS, PARTICIPATED IN CONFERENCES, HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN SETTING UP ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION COURSES AND WORKSHOPS, HAS CURATED AND ORGANIZED EXHIBITIONS, AND HAS EDITED AND PUBLISHED BOOKS AND CATALOGUES.

MAIN PROJECTS
Reception House – Taifong Golf Club, Chang Hua County, Taiwan, 2014
House in South Korea, Jeju Island, South Korea, 2011
Mimesis Art Museum , Paju Book City, South Korea, 2009
Anyang Pavilion, Anyang, South Korea, 2006
Amorepacific R&D Campus, Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea: Mizium Building (R&D Center), 2010, Pavilions 1, 2010, Pavillion 2, 2010, Gate House, 2010, Guest House, 2013, Canopy, 2013