Aurelien Chen’s Tree-inspired Pavilion Draws Visitors to the Dragon Mountain Natural Site in China

Aurelien Chen’s shimmering tree-inspired pavilion draws visitors to the Dragon Mountain Natural Site on the China coast. Three architects and designers led by Chen designed the 3,800-square-foot pavilion, made up of 170 stainless steel poles ranging from 15-32 feet in height.

A pen sketch by French architect and photographer Aurelien Chen reveals his concept for Dragon Mountain Land­mark Pavilion, an installation at the northern entrance to Dragon Mountain Natural Site, an 850-acre park in Rizhao, China. Image courtesy of Aurelien Chen.
A SketchUp rendering outlines the placement of the pavilion’s four curving canopies and grove of hollow, per­for­ated poles, an abstracted version of the bamboo trees found in the southeastern Chinese landscape. Image courtesy of Aurelien Chen.
Chen’s team conducts a lighting test for the park’s logo, which can be seen from the road. Photography by Aurelien Chen.
The canopies consist of seven or 15 tri­angular modules, prefabricated off-site of mirror-polished stainless steel. Photography by Aurelien Chen.
Another early lighting test surveys a perforated pole which, when illuminated from within by LEDs, evokes starlight. Photography by Aurelien Chen.

A bird’s-eye schematic diagram plots nature-inspired elements, including a riverlike pathway. Image courtesy of Aurelien Chen.
As Chen had already designed a mammoth stone-and-wood gate for Dragon Mountain’s southern entrance, the northern pavilion’s brief called for something inexpensive, contemporary, and easy to build. Photography by Aurelien Chen.
Echoing the surrounding landscape, the pavilion takes inspiration from traditional shan shui-style paintings, ethereal brush-and-ink compositions of mountains, rivers, and waterfalls. Photography by Aurelien Chen.
All the poles, which range from 3 1/2 to 5 inches in diameter, exhibit the same finishes: mirror polished on the lower half and painted white at the top. Photography by Aurelien Chen.

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