Archi-Union Architects - Venue B of Shanghai Westbund World Artificial Intelligence Conference
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Venue B of Shanghai Westbund World Artificial Intelligence Conference

Archi-Union Architects

Culture  /  Completed
Archi-Union Architects
As one of the main venues for the 2018 World AI Conference, the design for Venue B was initiated in April 2018, followed by compact construction in June. Finally the whole 8885 ㎡ space was successfully realized in September.Along with the gathering of artificial intelligence conference and technology industries, the integration of art and technology has become a new topic of riverside urbanizations at the West Bund. Through simple form, pragmatic construction, cyborg ingenuity (man-machine cooperation) and fully prefabricated structure system, we are able to quickly realize the green, industrialized and intelligent architecture, and fully present the systematic solution for digital construction.

According to the functions of future exhibitions, summits, and forums, the design is organically divided into three main parts, and the plane also formes a simple integrity. The natural twist of the geometry echoes the texture of the city streets and surrounding buildings. The main volume of Venue B employs the most simple construction language — sloping roof, which suits well into rapid construction and can also be adopted by different uses in future.

The twist of three main buildings of Venue B creates two triangular park entrances – a shared urban green space with shelter and semi-openings. After stepping into this garden, you can immediately feel the warmth of the timber structure. The blend of white and wood is an unexpected surprise, and it is also a space that makes people relaxed and willing to stay and interact.

After considering functional positioning, usage analysis, maintenance, security management, and different usages in the future for the three main functional spaces, the two public parks express two major scenarios. When they are fully opened, they become a pocket park within the city fabric and when they are semi-opened, they indicates the circulation and stitches together the three main volumes.While they serve as rest stations in between the summits, they are also buffering the internal traffic.

The shared garden is separated into two triangles, which are naturally defined as one moving and one static space. Both courtyards are covered with digital prefabricated timber vaulted roof, in which the larger one has a span of 40 meters and its structural thickness is only about 0.5 meters. It is the most economical inter-supported steel-wood roof in the world.

Through algorithms, the form is slightly arched and the force is evenly distributed. The overall arch is balanced by the lateral arrangement of the steel trusses and is further reinforced at the three corners. The inner timber arches are optimized to the double-hollow superimposed beams, and the geometrical dimensions of all the beams are further refined by digital form-finding, so that every single beam can be optimally materialized during gluing. The installation process only requires 3-4 labors, which has significantly improved the construction efficiency on site. All beam heads are optimized in a parametric manner and such data is then used to guide the digital fabrication for milling and boring. The joints feature a standardized hollow aluminum structure that further reduces roof weight while facilitating prefabrication and on-site construction.

On-site construction for the 2000 square meter timber shell only took 29 days. From the side, the ceiling is slightly above the main conference space, which results a better ventilation on ground level. The top is covered by polycarbonate corrugated board. Light is filtered through several layers and sprinkled in the gardens.

In the middle of the garden, we designed and built the world's largest 3D Robotic Printed Coffee Pavilion, which includes a coffee bar, tables, chairs, and other facility rooms. The form for the pavilion is realized through 5 pairs of arches. The shape logic is determined through the plane lines,and the arching mode is confirmed according to forces. The printing method is gradually optimized to completely integrate the force, form and construction process.

The pavilion uses a series of structural optimization technology, which includes algorithm for structural topology analysis to simulate the structural performance of the original shape. Meanwhile, the space printing process of modified plastic is also realized through the algorithm of robotic technology. Waste plastics are recycled and specially modified to form a lightweight and high-strength structure.

The large-span and lightweight structure of the 3D pavilion is realized through robotic space printing techniques. The entire process from design to construction celebrates the cooperation of man-machine intelligence, which is also the reason for such rapid construction. In total, digital design and fabrication technologies have helped to achieve 200 m² printed building areas, 40 printed chairs and 12 tables within 25 days.

West Bund World AI Conference Venue B attempts to redefine the entire process from design to construction. The data model has replaced the traditional format of drawings and become the medium for form, structure, prefabrication and on-site installation. Through digital form-finding, parametric optimization and parallel date for fabrication and construction, we are trying to redefine different ways of intelligentization in all aspects of architecture, and realizing the integration of intelligent design and construction.

The interfaces on each side are modified according to the needs of operation. For instance, the facade to the main street is closed as much as possible to avoid noise and interruptions to the summits. The façade conneting to gardens however, is widely opened up to allow relaxation within light and nature in between conferences. A mature multi-layer composite roofing system is used to enhance the energy performance of the entire project while meeting the acoustic characteristics.


 P.R. China
 8885 mq
 Philip F. Yuan
 Architecture: Alex Han, Jinxi Jin, Lei Lin, Jinyu Huang, Xiao Zhang 3D Robotic Printed Pavilion Design: Ce Li, Chun Xu, Sijie Gao, Zhenxiang Huang Interior: Fuzi He, Jingyan Tang Structural Engineer: Zhun Zhang, Junchao Shen, Tao Huang, Rui Wang MEP: Ying Yu, Yong Wang, Dawei Wei Digital Fabrication: Wen Zhang, Xuwei Wang, Yong Peng, Liming Zhang, Ce Li, Zhimin Wan, Chun Xu, Sijie Gao, Zhenxiang Huang
 Fangfang Tian


Archi-Union Architects was Founded by Philip F. Yuan in 2003. In the past few years, Archi-Union focused on the integration of Chinese traditional culture and digital technology. Archi-Union specializes in the practice of computational design, robotic fabrication and architectural industrialization. Meanwhile, Archi-Union implements digital craftsmanship into many projects.
There are more than 70 designers in the office currently and has practiced large amount of projects in the past decade including InBamboo, Chi She, Fab-Union Space, ShangART Gallery and Songjiang Art Campus etc.

Archi-Union has been actively involved in the relevant academic activities and exhibitions such as 2018 Venice Biennale, 2017 Chicago Biennale. Hong Kong Biennale, Shanghai Biennale, Milan Triennial and many other events.

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