Xuanyi Nie

The Convoluted

The building is a cultural center located near Olympic Park in London. It caters to four institutions—the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Tate, University of Arts, and Sadler’s Wells Theatre. The primary intellectual challenge is that the required programs add up to approximately 70,000 square meters of area, while the allowed GFA of the building is about 50,000 square meters. This project’s design solution incorporates time as a means to allow different programs to occupy the same space at different points in the day. The idea is to reduce the required floor area. Correspondingly, the programs in this building are juxtaposed over convoluted ramps to allow this space sharing to happen through the interplay of visual and physical connections. For example, the dining space of the gallery at night is the canteen space for students in the day. Likewise, the auditorium of the school is merged with the dance theater so that rehearsals and public school lectures can take place while there are no performances. At the same time, the experience in these programs will never stay the same. Picture it: a cafeteria where both the students and the general public can join together for social dining; a restaurant in a gallery, decorated with great thematic ambience; a school library where one can look into a museum that becomes a museum of knowledge. The convolution is not just a formal approach, but also a device to bring different programs together.

About The Designer

Xuanyi Nie is currently pursuing his M.Arch at the Harvard GSD. He is interested in experimenting with formal logics when addressing architectural problems and to systematically bring them back to the pragmatics of buildings. He has also worked at various places, including KPF, New York City Department of City Planning, SO-IL, and Kengo Kuma.