Created by Japanese Architect, Kengo Kuma, the Zhongtai Box, also known as the Z58 is a perfect example of architecture that wants to dissolve its shape in favour of spatial experience: Consisting of a series of filters which insinuate rather than showing, the different environments appear. The building is a winner of the Building of the Year 2020.
The building, which is Kuma's second project in China, is the window of Zhongtai Lighting Group and was actually a renovation of an old factory that serves as a scaffold.
The use of water as well as the striped facade to isolate the artificial watery landscape created inside, serve as an interpretation of the 'traditional Chinese humanistic spirit with a living nature which is away from the city.'
The horizontal planter boxes are named “the green louvers”. These green louvers are fixed to the steel pipe with brackets. Using the same steel pipe as the strut, glass panes with DPG (dot point glazing) connection fixtures are mounted inside.
The green louvers are in dual structure, consisting of a 3mm-thick stainless panel with a mirror finish, and U-shaped planter box with the excellent waterproof performance made of FRP (fibre reinforced plastic). A supporting structure consisting of L-angle steel is inserted between these two layers.
An automatic water-supply system is employed (in order to maintain the vegetation), in which water runs through the pipe of 20 mmφ, and the water from the drainpipe drips on the louver underneath.
The stainless steel has a shiny mirror finish. By using the mirror and covering the existence of the box, we wanted to create a sense as though the ivy alone is floating in the air.
About Kengo Kuma
Kengo Kuma was born in Yokohama (Kanagawa, Japan) in 1954. He studied architecture at the University of Tokyo, finishing his degree in 1979. In 1987, he opened the "Spatial Design Studio". In 1990 he founded "Kengo Kuma & Associates" and extend the study to Europe (Paris, France) in 2008. Since 1985 and until 2009, he has taught as a visiting professor and holder at the universities of Columbia, Keio, Illinois and Tokyo.