- LocationQingdao, China
- ClientChina Vanke Co. Ltd.
- ArchitectBohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects
- Size28,000 ft² (2,600 m²)
- BudgetC$8 million
Despite an ancient Chinese tradition of timber construction, lumber has fallen out of favour due to a misguided notion that it is unsafe or expensive. As the country looks at ways to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, however, wood has been making a comeback – one of the best examples is the Tsingtao Pearl Visitor Centre, which features an undulating free-form solid wood roof.
Nestled in a mountain meadow surrounded by rocky outcroppings and narrow bands of farmed terraces in coastal China, the visitor centre highlights the beauty of the site, serving as a welcome portal to this growing community development while using ordinary Canadian wood in a notable way.
To deliver the building (despite a Chinese labour and skills shortage), Fast + Epp worked collaboratively with the design-builder, StructureCraft, to develop a method of parcel construction, allowing complex components and connections to be designed and fabricated in Canada, then be assembled by local crews.
2014 Global Award of Merit
2012 Award of Merit
The design team developed 39 novel solid-laminated wood roof panels to be fabricated on site using ordinary lumber. Concurrently, 93 glue-laminated wood columns of varying length were individually milled and fitted with custom universal connectors, and shipped to China. Extensive prefabrication and 3D modelling ensured success – the building was wholly designed and constructed in just eight months.