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The In-Between Pavilion

The In-Between Pavilion, designed by Trace Architecture Office (TAO), serves as a dynamic exhibition space integrated into the densely built environment of Shenzhen’s Nantou Ancient Town. Part of the Diverse Homology Museum, this pavilion explores the theme of “The Inherited and Shared Administration,” contributing to a broader narrative about the history and cultural diversity of the Pearl River Delta region.

Architectural and Urban Context

The pavilion is strategically placed between two residential towers, embodying the complex urban conditions of Nantou Ancient Town. This area has seen significant transformation, particularly since the 1980s, when rapid urbanization followed Shenzhen’s designation as a special economic zone. The pavilion, TAO’s second urban renewal effort in Nantou, is part of ongoing revitalization initiatives aimed at enhancing the neighborhood’s infrastructure and cultural significance.

Design and Structure

The pavilion’s design features three interconnected volumes connected by a central staircase, creating a vertical journey through the exhibition spaces. The building’s exterior is enveloped in a stainless steel mesh veil, which serves both aesthetic and functional purposes. This veil is suspended from the steel structure and tightly secured with high-tension springs and extension rods, ensuring stability and durability against high winds.

Interaction with the Urban Fabric

The pavilion is set back from the street, creating a sidewalk that enhances pedestrian movement and accessibility. This public pathway is intended to facilitate both museum visitors and local residents. The building’s design includes covered passageways at the ground level, formed by the veil which splits at the corners to allow entry, and upper levels that progressively extend outward, supported by sloped columns.

Symbolism and Philosophy

The mesh veil encapsulates the transitory and adaptive nature of Nantou’s urban landscape, reflecting the area’s continuous state of flux and regeneration. Hua Li, founder of TAO, describes this as an “invisible organism,” where materials and structures embody transience and adaptability. The pavilion, with its layered, ephemeral design, mirrors the vitality and organic evolution of the urban village.

Contribution to Urban Renewal

In-Between Pavilion not only serves a curatorial function but also plays a role in the urban renewal of Nantou Ancient Town. By integrating modern architectural elements with the historic context, the pavilion fosters a dialogue between past and present, enriching the cultural tapestry of the region. This project exemplifies how thoughtful architectural interventions can contribute to the revitalization of rapidly changing urban environments, preserving their unique identities while accommodating contemporary needs.

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