Chinese studio Meta-project has completed a viewing platform in Jilin, China, featuring a deep cantilever and rough materials.
The site is surrounded by luscious greenery in summer and covered by an overwhelming white snow in winter. Because the orientation of the distant view (horizontal unfolding lake), and the close view (vertical extending slope) is at a different angle, the building results in a twisted gesture between the wood “stage” and the concrete “base”.
As one descends from the mountaintop, the “Stage” rises slowly above the undulating landscape, in a way like a piece of a leaf floating on the water. Positioned with the 2 side-line along the approaching eyesight of the visitors from two routes: the trail in the woods and the ski-slope.
Not only it doesn’t obstruct the view to the lake and mountains, it even enhances the experience by inducing ever-changing tension between the cantilever and the surrounding landscape. The entire “stage” is like growing out from the Mongolian oak forest and cantilevering on top of the ski-slope.
The building combined rough materiality with its sensuous form. Seen from afar, the “stage” is a dark, free-floating monolith in the landscape, with a heavy concrete “base”. Come closer, the reflection on the charred cedar shingles (Shou-Sugi-Ban) becomes faintly perceptible – even turns silvery with the changing angle of sunlight. After one meandering through the forest boardwalk and finally arriving in front of it, the chapped surface of the shingles and the wood texture of the cast concrete become tangible.
The interior is choreographed through a carefully plotted experience. Upon entering the concrete vestibule, in the moment your eye adjusts to the dimmed light, a vertical view along the stretching slope will catch you first, then a narrow staircase hints the only way of elevating. When you arrive at the platform level and turn around, what suddenly opens up to you is a great panoramic view of the Songhua lake, winding in-between the hills, clear or hazed by with the ever-changing mist, an exceptional vista that is breathtakingly beautiful and magical.
A pair of ovals openings cut through the volume, one on the roof leading sunlight and snowflake into the space, the other one on the floor intriguing interaction between people above and under the “stage”. The red cedar wall has been left untreated and is vivid in color shades, in contrast to the building’s dark Shou-Sugi-Ban exterior.
all images © Su Shengliang