The design philosophy attempted to incorporate the essence of the basic principles of Chinese architecture while conscientiously respecting the urban context of the Chinese historic area. These principles were underscored with a fundamental commitment to life on Pender Street; a commitment stemming from the architect's membership in the community and his working experience both as a volunteer and architect in the Chinatown / Strath c ona a rea for the past decade. ,
The formal entrance is set back from the property line to accommodate an outdoor entrance court. This court is, in itself, an extension of the Chinese Cultural Centre and it joins the pedestrian space of Pender Street to the interior spaces of the Centre. The entrance hall serves as a place for the ceremony of arrival, reception and dissemination of information. A generous staircase, set off to one side, connects to the facilities on t he upper floor. On the north-south axis beyond the entrance hall is the community Courtyard; an expansive, open-paved area where large numbers of people can gather during the many festivals and events in the Centre. It is surrounded by a covered walkway which reinforces the drama of this central space.
Multi-purpose classrooms, arts and crafts and music rooms are located on the second level where they form a closed ring surrounding the community courtyard. The auditorium / theatre is sited at the east Side of the site with half its perimeter adjoining the water's edge of the garden. It is accessible from the community court over a series of bridges and by way of the garden entrance on Keefer Street. Immediately adjoining and beyond the community courtyard is the garden, interlocked with buildings. It occupies 1.6 acres of the overall site and can be clearly demarked for administrative purposes.
The design is based on traditional fundamental principles. The garden includes the founding elements of "false mountain" and water, the four essential built forms of ting, terrace, pavilion and eaves as well as the traditional seasonal plants of plum (spring), lotus (summer), chrysanthemum (autumn) and bamboo (winter). Its main entrance is at the junction of Columbia and Keefer streets, marked by a low screen wall and an entrance gate.
The teahouse is located near the main entrance of the garden and is directly accessible from the community courtyard over the water. A pavilion structure is set in the garden, modelled after a notable classical form in authentic materials with a capacity for approximately 100 people. The second and third levels of the Centre are devoted to rental office space. The exhibition vault is the only element located below grade. The service areas are located in the northeast corner of the site, as are the Centre's workshop, mechanical and electrical rooms for the complex.
The design team consisted of: Joe Wai - project architect, Wayne Wai, Ron Yuen, Gordon Heppner, Frank Koldwijn, Steve Eidelberg, Doreen McQueen and Alan Hart.
(Specialized magazine excerpt)
"This entry realizes many of the site potentials already detailed for the first and second prize winners. Its concept is, therefore, commended by the jury."
"As an axially oriented plan, this entry shares many of the disadvantages noted for the second prize winner, but with fewer of its compensating charms. The educational and community services areas are less coherent and well-ordered. Moreover, its relativity massive central structure permits less freedom in integration of the site."
(From jury report)
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- Photograph of Model