Momentary City by Vector Architects


Chinese studio Vector Architects have completed a sales pavilion for a construction site in Hefei, China, which features a series of enclosed courtyards.

Called Momentary City, the project aims to screen out the noise and dust of the development area but draw in more pleasant elements of the surroundings such as wind, water and plants.

The building consists of cube-like structures clad in Corten steel, linked by courtyards and scattered along one edge of the construction site.

The ends of these courtyards are enclosed by double-layered fibreglass screens, which filter light so that they appear neutral and translucent from the street but coloured from within.

Photographs are by Shuhe Photo.

Here's some more information from Vector Architects:


Momentary City by Vector Architects
- CR Land Hefei Dongdajie Sales Pavilion

Design Concept: Momentary City

Like many other cities in China, Hefei is undergoing a rapid transformation.

The original urban fabric was torn apart and discarded, replaced by giant blocks of anonymous structures and forms.

The present Hefei is just a fleeting moment on its relentless march toward the future. So, we call it a “Momentary City”.

The neighborhoods that were demolished and the new sites that are under construction fill this “Momentary City” with scabs.

We try to design such a place that creates peace and tranquility for people’s souls.

It filters out the noise and dust from the outside world, but retains light and its shadow, water and its ripples, wind and it’s sounds, plants and their aroma, a series of momentary phenomena to create a memory that lasts.

A sequence of courtyards, each hosts one of these phenomena are inserted between the indoor space and outdoor city environment, become a visual connection between the building and the city.

The ends of these courtyards are enclosed by industrial fibre glass screens which are hung in two layers.

On the courtyards’ side, the colors of the screens change to reflect the various themes of the courtyards. On the city side, the screens remain clear and translucent.

This variation in color creates a subtle effect when they are viewed from city side.

When they are seen from different points of view and distances, the screens’ appearance are also shifting.

At night, when the courtyards and the trees are lit, the screens glow quietly to cast a faint color on the sidewalks.

The layout of the courtyards is the foundation of an internal logic that informs the transition of the spaces.

Sunlight reaches the interiors spaces directly or indirectly through the clerestories on the northern wall.

The light made the spaces and time inseparable. With the light changing through the day and the seasons, the spaces take on different expressions.

Maybe such ever-changing and irreplaceable moments are the precise definition of eternity?

Click for larger image

Location: Hefei, China
Client: CR Land
Architect: Vector Architects 直向建筑
Design-partner-in-charge: 董功 Gong Dong
Project Architect: 陈嘉俊 Jiajun Chen,孙群 Qun Sun
Structure and Material: Steel Structure, Corten Steel Panel, Fibre Glass Panel, Self-levelling Floor, Gypsum Board, Bamboo Veneer Ceiling
Building Area: 900m2
Design Period: 07/2009-11/2009
Construction Period: 09/2009-12/2009
Structural/Mechanical Engineer: Huanyu Design Institute, Hefei
Photo Credit: Shuhe Photo, Vector Architects

Posted on Thursday January 28th 2010 at 11:22 am by Chris Barnes. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Balkan

    Well if I would have to rate this based on the model it wouldn’t be so much good, but microspaces created with good materialisation shown on these pictures are really beautiful. :)

  • RJC


  • I don’t know if the effect produced by the fiberglass screens was totally expected by the architects, but the result is very nice with snow !

  • finishings look awesome!

  • arch1980

    this is really lovely. clear concept+poetic expression+strict excution

  • chris

    absolutely magnificent.

  • idealist

    looks like china’s got talent… well, we knew that already, but here’s more proof. and balkan, what don’t you like about the models?

  • Abhi

    Delivered the concept well.
    @Yunus : Agree with you, the finishes are beautiful.

  • Balkan

    @Idealist.. Well when I saw the model it really dont look as some exceptional space more like a regular student project with group form concept. But the materialisation really lift this project into some other level of quality and I agree with that 100% But even though the estetics is very good probably inspired by H& De M or some similar sensitivity the organization of the space could be more profound. This is only my opinion:)
    I feel that something is missing in order to call this place a masterpiece

  • arch1980

    the model already demonstrates a nice layout, through a very simple logic of orgnizing all the elements together, however the consequential space and form are rich.

  • Ioana


  • TAKA

    The building very nice!!
    Dezeen can say some Chinese character !!Well done !!

  • yamazaki

    What a well thought out and executed scheme. Concept is clear and detailing is simply beautiful and elegant. My only gribe is that this is going to be a temporary sales building that will be torn down once the real development is completed. I hope that the architect will find another site with a similar design for a more permanent programme, such as a library or some sort of community bldg.

  • angry catalan

    Simple and good.

  • perigeum

    very very nice – specially the details.. and as in any great experiment some things might turn out to be a good lesson: the rustmarks are allready staining the pure white backside, this will look cheap in the long run or require a lot of upkeep..

  • I can’t quite figure out the purpose of this building from the description, but I do really like it. All the different textures and beautiful open spaces are stunning. The wood sculpted ceilings are especially interesting.