Studio 505 developed a strategic solution for the façade which encloses and identifies the massive Suzhou Science and Cultural Arts Center. The façade is intricate yet simple and it wraps the base building designed by Paul Andreu. The continuously curved perimeter of the main building, which in plan is shaped like a parabolic half moon crescent, is more than 1.5 km long and consists of an inner weather proofing layer an outer ornamental metal screen, which provides shading but also gives the building its unique external appearance and identity.
It was very important to develop a system which would appear as a continuous and infinite surface, in order to emphasis the seemingly endless extent of the exterior. To achieve this, the designers at Studio505 had to depart from a rectilinear panel grid and to adopt the matrix of three hexagons, superimposed at 60 degrees relative to each other. The hexagonal matrix consists of straight lines, similar to the classical Suzhou window screen made from timber.
Each of the approximately 10sqm large individual composite façade panels consist of two inner and two outer water jet cut aluminum tiles with the integral structural framing sandwiched in between the two layers. This strategy hides all necessary framing from view and thus creates a screen that does not only look dynamic from the outside, but reads equally stunning when seen from the vast public foyer areas inside. The dual skin and patterns are made from 16 unique tiles assembled in 42 selected permutations throughout the 24,000sqm of external façade.