Sea Snail, PTFE Membrane Pavilion by the sea, Shanghai

Lingang Coast Ecological Pavilions are three small structures of Shanghai Lingang Ecological Restoration Project, scattered along the 17-kilometer-long coastline. They serve as landmarks along the extensive shoreline, providing basic resting spots for citizens while also serving as eco-educational exhibits.

The design of pavilions considers three main aspects: how to create distinctive features and interest within the given site conditions and budget, how to occupy the space while avoid FAR, and how to integrate marine science themes into the form and material of the pavilions.

With a flat, open, uniform, prolonged landscape, Lingang coastline provides a surreal atmosphere different from Shanghai's daily scenery, with huge wind turbines, giant boulder-like wave breakers, and endless sea. This determined the basic strategy of the design: the pavilions would engage the site as follies, enhancing the site's surreal experience with alien volumes and materials. The pavilions would have no roof, expanding their spatial capacity through large enclosing walls, components as framework, and porous material distribution. Abstracting marine symbols and combining with environmentally friendly materials, the pavilions themselves aim to have educational significance from both visual and tectonic perspectives.

Considering the considerable distance and the lack of potential for them to be conceived as a cohesive group, three pavilions are designed as individual installations in terms of form and material to provide maximum recognizability. However, they all share the aforementioned properties: readable figures, porous, and as exhibition per se. Throughout the construction, the three pavilions have colloquially been referred to as: "Membrane Sea Snail," " 3D-print Plastic Wave Breaker Splash," and "Recycled Brick Coral Reef."

The Membrane Sea Snail is located under a large wind turbine. Its main structure consists of eight steel arches gradiently forming an inside-out flip structure, covered with a silver fabric membrane. The base naturally forms a semi-circular bench. The original design featured a biomimetic, sea urchin-like protrusion, but due to cost constraints, it was simplified to a smooth surface during implementation. The eye-shaped openings provide views of the sea and reduce the coverage of the membrane. The semi-transparent fabric presents a futuristic appearance, along with the wind turbine. Visitors bring their own food and dine with family under the dome.

The Lingang Ecological Three Pavilions attempt to create intriguing spots along the lengthy landscape. Different from typical architectural projects, they bridge between landscape features, public art, and infrastructure, coordinating multiple factors and natural conditions. Although the material experimentation in the project was not fully realized, the intervention of small characteristic structures in large-scale infrastructure projects is a positive attempt.

Pavilion A: Sea Snail, PES Membrane Pavilion
Design team: Hao Chen, Chenchen Hu, Yu Xiao, Xi, Cai, Yida Hou
LDI: Shanghai Youwei Engineering Design Co.,Ltd.
PES membrane: Serge Ferrari Group
Period: 2022-2024
Location: Lingang Coast, Shanghai.
Photography: Qingyan Zhu