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Third Place – Future

Dali Transformer Factory Theatrical District

Architects: Jiyuan Zhang, Xiaojun Bu

Design Team: Xiaojun Bu, Jiyuan Zhang, Zhenwei Li, Li Jiang、Yalan Qin、Chunbiao Cao、Jiaming Mei, Lanyue Sheng、Si Miao、Teng Xue、Zhen Ni.


Sited at the West-south of Erhai Lake, at the edge of the ancient citadel of Dali, an abandoned transformer factory is transformed into a theatrical park, allowing free interpretation of the past, present, and future of Dali. The original workshop, storage, and office are turned into theater, multi-sensual art space, and new media caterings. The collage of industrial factories, vernacular architecture, and visual art offers the travelers of Dali a resurrection journey that comes directly from one’s heartbeat. Meanwhile, the resurrection of the city’s history, the awakening of the sub-consciousnesses of the city, and the cultural mission of Dali are unveiled by an Avant-Garde show of the architecture.

The main workshop of the factory is the tallest building within the ancient city of Dali. While the west side of the roof terrace overlooking Cangshan Mountain, the east has a view over Erhai Lake. The high and low roofs of the factory are connected via pathways and platforms. An undulating industrial roofscape is formed that creates a dialogue with the distant landscape of Cangshan and Erhai. As the Athens plateau gave birth to the Acropolis and the Western culture, the transformer park aims to create an undulating urban plateau that brings Dali and Eastern culture back to life.

As the architecture “spaces out” from its pragmatic program, it creates “the other space” for illusion. The Heterotopia illusionary space is defined as the “theater.” The “theaters” could happen everywhere: some are within the roof, some are on the roof, some attach to the clerestory, and some grow out of the window to be a theatrical box. Every building in the factory donates part of the building to create the micro Heterotopia, which is a meditation space parallel to reality. As the micro Heterotopias are connected, they create a field beyond reality.

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