Hamburg-based architectural practice gmp architekten has designed the Zhongguancun Christian Church located in Beijing, China. The project features vertical fins running along the building’s perimeter that forming an unique homogeneous skin. It creates a special lighting atmosphere inside the church hall, matching the ecclesiastical function of the space.
The shape of the church body does not only allow for a sightline to the south media façade of the Cultural Tower but also emphasizes its special function in contrast to the surrounding commercially used buildings.
+ Project description courtesy of gmp architekten
With its free curved shape, the building forms a solitaire in the park-like open space between Zhongguancun Cultural Tower and the “City of Books”. On the upper floors it houses China’s largest Christian church, while on the ground floor commercial spaces are situated. The shape of the church body does not only allow for a sightline to the south media façade of the Cultural Tower but also emphasizes its special function in contrast to the surrounding commercially used buildings. The rod system of the façade forms a homogeneous skin, which however lets in sufficient daylight.
The entrance to the main church hall faces northeast and opens up to the street as well as to Zhongguancun Cultural Tower. A cross, clearly identifying the building as a Christian church, develops from the façade rod system. Through a large portal, worshippers mount a stairway to enter the main church hall on the first floor. With its alternation of open and massive wall sections, the façade rod system creates a special lighting atmosphere inside the church hall, matching the ecclesiastical function of the space.
The entrance for clergy and church employees is placed on the northwest side and gives access to a side chapel as well as to stairways and a lift to all the floors of the church building. The parish offices and community spaces are on the second and third floors of the south and west wings. Some of the upper-floor spaces open onto a roof terrace – a substitute for a churchyard – that offers parishioners an attractive outdoor space.
+ Project credits / data
Project: Zhongguancun Christian Church
Location: Haidian District, Beijing, China
Competition 2004 – 1st prize
Gross floor area: 4,000 m²
Construction period: 2005–2007
Architect: gmp architekten – von Gerkan, Marg and Partners Architects
Design: Meinhard von Gerkan and Stephan Schütz
Project managers: Helga Reimund, Xia Lin
Team design: Katrin Kanus, Stephan Rewolle, Gero Heimann
Team realization: Christian Dorndorf, Xin Meng
Chinese partner office: Sunlight, Beijing
Client: China Zhongguancun Culture Development Co., Ltd.
Photo: © Christian Gahl, Berlin