Nichtoffener Wettbewerb | 06/2008

International Competition on Conservation and Exhibition Design for Palace Wall & Gate Sites of Xi’an Tang Daming Gong Site

2. Preis

N2M Architektur & Stadtplanung GmbH BDA


brandenfels landscape + environment



Rethinking the traditional place wall
If we confront the function of the ancient Palace Wall with the function of its new definition, we will come to the conclusion that both act contrary. The ancient wall was built to protect and to enclose the inner palace site completely as well as to define a clear border between the imperial family and the citizen. Because of its transformation into a public place, a place that now should be created for the citizen; we have to rethink the traditional meaning of the wall. The redefined wall should still show the dimension and the scale of the palace area but should express an openness that is appropriate for a public place.

The redefined palace wall
To realize both redefinitions the mass of the wall is broadly perforated into a regular pattern of shear walls that symbolize the profile of the ancient palace wall and that carry a walkway structure which is completely covered by Corten-Steel panels. This new structure of the shear walls and its gallery circumscribes the Daming Palace Site at its original position.
Through the continuous Corten-Steel band which is visible on the whole site, the visitor perceives the dimension of the palace area from every point of view. Walking along the shear walls, the visitor receives a certain perspective that indicates a compact and massive wall. But by changing his parallel position, the perspective changes and the image of the wall is transformed into the open shear wall structure that offers a visual link between the palace site and the urban environment beyond.
The wall gallery is located at its original level. From here, the visitor has a broad vista over the Daming Site and its modern urban context. Alongside the wall gallery, at the original position of the side gates, the Corten-Steel Gallery is expanded by functional Corten-Steel cubes that contain exhibition spaces and additional side entrances that enclose ramps that are unfolded out of the surface of the walkway structure. The ramps and cubes form the link between the inner palace site level and the wall gallery as well as the link between the palace site and its environment.
Despite its new definition, the wall structure still pictures the power and the inviolability of the emperor.

The rose ribbons
As a counterpart to the political and military part, the culture and fine arts of the Tang Dynasty attract a world wide attention. To express this important part of the Tang culture, another major element interacts with the wall structure. Like the silk ribbons of the famous Tang-Ribbon-Dance, a mesh structure which is covered by a dense layer of rose bushes meanders through the wall. These dense rose-ribbons forms a barrier that guarantees a flexible site use with the possibility of an access control but still supports the visual link between the inside- and the outside-area.