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Copper blockhouse · Full Metal Jacket – In 2021, I was invited by my friend Qiye, to design a central building in the center of the creative industry park that I renovated for him. However, we are both spaced out those days as our wives are facing a similar dilemma. We are distracted, yet tried to take our minds off anxiety by working, but it was hard to fully concentrate. Various possibilities of functions such as clubs and cafés were vetoed, as these ordinary functions cannot convince the two middle-aged men who were in panic. Eventually, we agreed on a multi-functional spiritual fortress as the central building. I said to Qiye that we needed to justify our existence, which was impossible for successful commercial development to achieve. The museum is the church of the modern age, and it might settle our disturbed souls. Therefore, we used the museum as the base of the work. Nautical machinery and ships are huge metal objects, therefore, I decided to build the building entirely of metal, and copper was chosen in the end. I am superstitious that metal shell is strong enough to protect our frightened souls.

I Want to Build a Copper Blockhouse the Way a Ship is Built – The form of the design is the original arched shed on the site. The building is an arch, and that’s it. It was the nautical machine factory that inspired me to build this fortress the way a ship is built. Therefore, the construction of the building started with the keel, which was made of welded structural steel from 150mm to 220mm wide, covered by copper plates on both sides to form the internal and external facades. This is the origin of Full Metal Jacket.

There’s a gleaming stainless-steel space in the fortress, the cabin of the ship. It functions as a café, as well as a stage, with a kitchen and a bathroom. This is the only decoration of the Copper Blockhouse, symbolizing the sharpness of our souls, and the desires behind it.

The grass on the north side of the fortress was designed into a huge black wading pool. The Copper Blockhouse is then presented as a submarine, emerging from the water surface like a shimmering whale, quietly, silently, rippling inside.

Despite Nowhere to go, this Building is Our Salvation – The rest of the park was designed by an excellent architect who gave the park a new look. However, I kept the newspaper wall on the south side of the shed, the human security, the big tree, and the rockery. I tried to retain some fragments of the memory of the site because I am increasingly reluctant to forget. Each building in the park is abundantly designed, and that’s why I preferred to keep the Copper Blockhouse simple. If the whole park is a partita, the Copper Blockhouse is a silent pause.

I ambushed a variety of possibilities in this “pause”, the fortress – exhibitions, performances, lectures, parties, a museum, and even skateboarding activities. The café can be used as a stage if keep the gate towards the pool opens. With the water surface drawing down, a glittering catwalk appears. We once imagined here to be a dramatic show, but after the year 2022, I changed my mind. I hope there would be glorious fireworks, a choir performance on the water, singing about the pain and the hope. Because “What’s past is prologue.”

Architects: Wutopia Lab
Cheif Architect: Ting Yu
Project Manager: Zhilin Mu
Design Team: Kejie Mi, Nan Xu, Ruoyu Dai
Photographs: CreatAR Images


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