WEST VILLAGE BASIS YARD
Photos taken: April 10th, 2019
West Village Basis Yard is located in the West of Chengdu, a city in central China. Occupying an entire plot, the typology is radically different from the other neighbouring plots. Spending a rainy afternoon last April, I had a chance to document to outstanding project by Jiakun Architects. The buildup quickly became visible, instead of generic lowrise towers occuping the plot with indistinctive open space in-between, the architects chose to building along the perimeters and keep the inner core free for public activities.
Even though the weather was far from optimal, the project evaporated a certain energy. From entering the plot through the large sloped pathways, a meandering network of elevated walkways brings you through the project towards a set of exterior staircase.
In the middle of it all, are several sportfields being used by the public (young football players were having their weekly training session). Being elevated, the pathways give you an interesting vantage point over the complex. While at groundlevel, the pathways form covered walkways (which were rather necessary the time I was there, as it started raining the moment I arrived).
The permiter building are used for offices and an interesting mix of retail spaces. Having corridors along the retail part, the walk along offers a peak into the daily life of the yard. Walking up the staircase leads to the roof which gives you an entire overview. However, the running path looping around the development was closed off when I visited. When high up, the contrast between the West Village Basis Yard and the neighbouring buildings becomes visible. Generic buildings draped in rainy clouds give a depressing feeling. When looking inside the yard, the activity in the sport fields give a proactive feeling. A stark contrast.
Looking closely, the roughness of the concrete gives a nice touch. The casting used gives the materials a sensible appearance.
Visiting the West Village Basis Yard was an interesting experience. After having lived and worked in China for the past 9 years, it is fascinating to see this refreshing typology breaking the rigid and sometimes asocial structures of Chinese cities. With a bigger focus on quality open space compared to other large developments, this project successfully merges commercial usage with usuable open space while keeping a clear link to the chinese heritage by way of certain materials and textures.