Phoenix Valley is a government funded and operated Theatre, Film and Arts Centre located in Wujin; Victoria’s sister province in China’s Jiangsu. Comprising of 4 cinemas; a 1000 seat grand theatre, capable of both traditional Chinese opera and radical digital immersive performances; a five storey flexible art gallery; a youth palace (learning centre) to educate 4000 students; a sports and dance hall; a selection of retail, café and food facilities and a connected and permeable landscaped courtyard. This broad and complementary mix of programme has been carefully tailored, folded, inserted, and moulded into the geological form of the building.
Technologies, thinking and design processes developed in the Pixel building in Melbourne have been embedded, including Green Roof technology, Built-In Photovoltaic (BIPV), Solar Thermal arrays, Natural Ventilation, LED lighting and a water management system that utilises the water flowing beneath and around the complex. The roof is ‘green’ planted with species that create an active and integrated seasonal flowering that flows down the walls, providing benefits to the project in terms of insulation, water collection and filtration. The project has improved amenity, improved local value of real estates, and formed a highly regarded cultural hub for the local community.
The brief proposed strict zoning for the site which directed all designers to divert an axial canal in a blunt right hand turn across the front of a basic rectangular building footprint. studio505 broke this zoning and instead proposed that the canal was drawn into the site, becoming the active element that has carved out the valley from a green roofed mountain mass. This gesture created a protected internal courtyard space, an internalised yet outdoor central gathering space secure from busy roads, allowing a public space and access to all the parts of the centre from within the valley.
studio505 actively work against the common misconception that buildings are ‘finished’ when completed. studio505’s proposition is that they are actually ‘starting’- they are at the beginning of their life, of their contribution to culture and of their capacity to elicit change and improvement. studio505 have continued their ongoing relationship with the government in Wujin, working with both local state government and institutions in Victoria and, to create a hybrid of the sister city programme; looking to create a smaller profile, in the form of Sister Precincts – partnerships of cultural and knowledge exchange between institutions such as Federation Square.