TIC Art Center

DOMANI Architectural Concepts

Architects: DOMANI Architectural Concepts
Location: Foshan, China
Area: 18,000.00 m2
Year: 2021
Photography: Vincent Wu

Since 2020, the Chinese government has tightened control over the real estate sector, and the policy of rating real estate firms into four classes based on three key indicators signifies that the period of demographic, land and financial dividend is coming to an end. This has caused anxiety in the land market, and real estate developers in the private sector are taking a wait-and-see attitude. The rules of the game in the real estate market are evolving.

In September 2021, TIC, a landmark maker town developed by Times China, was unveiled to the public. In the same month, to the amazement of citizens of Foshan (located to the southwest of Guangzhou and within its “one-hour life circle”), the TIC Art Center was completed. Covering an area of 3,000 mu (2 million square meters) and with a gross floor area of 5 million square meters, the maker town complex has gone against the tide in the turbulent real estate market. It has not only secured a leading position for Times China in real estate development in the center of Qiandeng Lake Area, but has also become a new hotspot for local citizens.

The TIC Art Center, an iconic symbol that represents the image of the maker town, received a total investment of around 180 million yuan. DOMANI was invited to carry out the overall design of the project, with the design scope covering landscape, architecture, interior, products, and more. Meanwhile, top-tier resources in the sector were brought together to create a first-rate project with high integrity, high standards, high academic and commercial value, and high urban quality, which has rarely been seen in the real estate industry in recent years. The project was a hit, indicating that Times China is embarking on a new journey of refined, product-oriented long-term development.

The landscape, a prelude to the building, generates a magnificent atmosphere. The design team divided the landscape circulation routes into upper and lower levels. Red ceramic bricks were utilized to create a sense of ceremony and provide a clear guide towards the building for people entering the space from different directions. Meanwhile, the black gravel-paved garden provides a more open and freer area to stop and rest, giving visitors another option for diverse experiences. The upper and lower levels are intertwined to create a rich, multi-directional and intuitive experiential route. On the other hand, the iconic round pool, which is one of the largest artificial waterscapes in Guangzhou and Foshan, has become the destination for numerous visitors.

The viewing platform stretching to the middle of the pool provides a panoramic vista of the building’s main façade. The mesh-like double-layer curtain wall system is both the visual highlight and the technical focus of the project. A unique grid masonry effect is achieved by combining traditional ceramic bricks with modern curtain wall structural design. Equilateral triangular modules are assembled to form the mesh-pattern façade. Thanks to the concealed anti-dropping nodes of the curtain wall, the unique aesthetics of the openwork masonry are ensured, while preventing damage or detachment of the ceramic panels. Industrialized production provides precision to the concealed aluminum alloy unit adopted for the ceramic mesh curtain wall, while significantly improving the efficiency of its installation.

The inner-layer curtain wall adopts ultra-clear glass in its conventional economical size. Single glass pieces with a length of 2,200 mm enlarge the view from indoors and ensure fast installation. Thickened and laminated glass ribs avoid exposed frames, and the reduced width of glass ribs increases the utilization of interior space. This structure emphasizes the transparency and invisibility of the glass curtain wall, creating a clearer background for the outer mesh curtain wall formed by triangular ceramic bricks.

The overall passive design of the building minimizes energy consumption through the double-layer curtain wall system (clay brick grid + cavity + insulated low-e tempered glass) on the east, south and west façades. Compared with conventional curtain walls, the system reduces the heat conduction of the building by about 30% and the estimated cooling energy consumption by 30%, effectively improving its insulation performance. At the same time, the 240-mm-thick side openwork brick curtain wall system forms a sunlight filter, preventing glares caused by direct sunlight while enhancing the softness of the light through refraction.

An arch with a maximum span of 29 meters is created on the façade wall. The top of the arch is composed of cantilever beams and upturned overhanging folding slabs so that it is higher than the beams between floors. The middle of the arch features cantilever beams and hanging columns and beams to achieve a wide scale. Finally, the non-arch section is built from cantilever beams and brick walls.

The Big Dream is a set of independent large outdoor installations designed by A&V. Its design is inspired by Earth Art and BDO fantasy, based on the metaphor of an invisible giant. The installations, which are especially loved by children, contrast with the huge circular square, highlighting the conflict between ultimate rationality and pure artistic sensibility. The design intentionally reinforced its structure and material, in addition to formal control, in order to provide a safe climbable miniature structure for children.

The interior functional planning focuses on the vertical organization of spaces in the main building, and the integration of concealed engineering within the architectural structure provides more possibilities for flexible mixed uses during future operations.

The reception area on the first floor emphasizes a transparent boundary between architecture and landscape. The interior design is based on the idea of de-interiorization. First, in contrast to the traditional interior lighting solutions, a large intelligent preset light film ceiling is adopted to strike a balance between indoor lighting and outdoor daylight. This lighting strategy is similar to the control of top lighting in photography, helping to create a strong sense of vastness in the space. The second element is an emphasis on architectural structure. The electromechanical and fire systems strictly follow the extension of the beam and column system. Third, the interior materials are directly derived from the architectural elements, bonding between interior and exterior while greatly reducing the construction costs and risks.