This scheme has three major design objectives: (1) It will be an element of common identity within the Chinese community. (2) It will express a "meeting place". (3) It will become the gateway to Chinatown. The design approach is consciously directed towards the traditional Chinese cityscape. Site planning principles and building form are based upon the three traditional elements of the pavilion: the base platform, the supports and the roof. The sloping roof elevates the viewers gaze skyward and is the predominate element of form. It is a "sign" which immediately identifies the Centre.
Within the simple building enclosure, a multitude of activities occur on various levels. These functions coexist within the strong discipline of the major circulation axes and the roof. The interior space will be an exciting, everchanging place, continually adapting itself to the demands of the Chinese community. The theatre is the one major functional component that will be fully developed to provide the best acoustics, sitelines and environment for activities ranging from cinema, ballet, drama to musical performances. The design departs from the program to provide a sloping floor, fixed seat arrangement, offering a more acceptable place for the performing arts.
Phase I and Phase II, a requirement and a design challenge, join at the east-west corridor under a skylight. A " clean edge" is provided to simplify Phase II construction and reduce disruption. The building's composition is traditional using modern construction. Like the ancient temples, the structure is simple and exposed. The copper roof is laid over an exposed steel space-frame. The enclosure is glass and insulated metal panel. The north-south axis of the building offers a sequence of spaces reflecting the traditional entrance to a pavilion. The gateway entrance from Pender Street follows into the courtyard up to the platform, into the formal lobby/reception area, past the secondary axis, the theatre and gymnasium, to the Garden and its gateways.
The building's setting provides a sense of privacy and dignity and also permits the building and site to be used in many different ways. The second level walkway along the wall of shops may be used as a viewing place for parades or courtyard events. The Garden and restaurant may be used for wedding activities. The courtyard can be used for outdoor theatre.
The structural system is reinforced concrete frame on pile foundations, flat concrete slab floor and a galvanized, painted space frame roof structure. Major materials for the exterior wall comprised insulated metal panel with horizontal rib configuration. Roofing is copper with a standing seam. The concrete frame is exposed interior and exterior. Interior finish is painted drywall. The construction cost estimate (1977) was $1.4 million for Phase 1 and $4.7 for the total program. The design team comprised Thomas Zimmerman, Brian Toyota, Katherine Gerson, and Ian Parsons. Consulting engineers were: structural, Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd; mechanical, Reid, Crowther & Partners Ltd. John C. Downward Ltd, were quantity surveyors and construction managers.
(Specialized magazine excerpt)
" The concept of a single monumental statement for this project was not ignored by the Jury. Among the few submissions which propose such a solution, this entry is outstanding for its imaginative and thoughtful approach. "
"Inevitably, a single dominating element is less satisfactory from the point-of-view of the present urban fabric, or in terms of the site itself to combine edifices with landscaping. There is no doubt, however, that the elegantly soaring roofs of this design would have become a distinctive symbol to the city as a whole."
" The Jury has reservations about the effects of such massive scale upon the community, and about the efficacy of having a temple or palace elevation for the Cultural Centre 's activities. Moreover, the promise of monumentality offered by the building's exterior is not fulfilled by its interior planning. Apart from the inadequacy of the commercial spaces proposed to front on Pender Street, the diagonal orientation once within the main floor space would militate against clear understanding of volumes and contrasting planes."
" The phasing of the auditorium and gymnasium complex is rational and feasible. Nevertheless, this entry shares the difficulties of others with sub-level construction and traffic access."
(From jury report)
5 scanned / 5 viewable
- Photograph of Model