Situated in the Nanjing Fangshan Mountains, this new national park is known as “The Cradle of Chinese Geology”. Until recently, the site has been used for processing concrete, and due to significant amounts of quarrying, much of the precious geology has been damaged. The new Geo Museum & Science Center doesn’t attempt to conceal the past but provides a clear glimpse into the history of this natural Chinese treasure.
To acknowledge the industrial heritage of this site, the existing processing buildings, the material conveyor belt, and the towering silos have been preserved and converted into exhibition spaces, a passenger conveying system, and sightseeing facilities respectively. A new, similarly scaled, building blends in seamlessly with the existing industrial context; its green roof melds into the hillside reducing the visual impact on this naturally beautiful site.
Inspired by the process of making building materials, the design tells a story; the building’s heavy base is composed of natural boulders, taken directly from nature – raw. The massing above is more refined as the boulders are shaped and cut to size, but still retain the character of rough, natural stone. Finally, the floating concrete mass atop is monolithic and pure, representing the highest level of refinement and polish that can be achieved using stone. Each distinct layer originates from the same source material – chunks of rocks that were once processed by the facility on site – emphasising the concept of the transition from old to new, unrefined to polished, and ultimately chaos to order.