In China, before housing projects are sold, architects often construct a sales pavilion, which generally bears little or no resemblance to the housing being sold. This practice has offered architects the freedom in terms of design and budget that they do not have with other types of buildings. The temporary pavilions are often torn down after the buildings are sold, although they are sometimes converted for other uses.
OPEN Architecture designers viewed this practice as a waste of effort and resources. In response, they designed the Xihuafu Sales Pavilion, a prototype of a temporary sales pavilion for development company VANKE Group.
OPEN designers worked in conjunction with engineers from the China Academy of Building Research to create a prototype of a temporary building that can be constructed quickly, adapted to various programs and sites, disassembled, and reassembled at another location. The reusable building design is intended to test the potential of sustainability in terms of physical form and life cycle.
The temporary building prototype is inspired by the ancient Chinese practice of constructing wooden structures that can be disassembled and reassembled at another site. The steel structural skeleton and steel and concrete composite floor panels are pre-fabricated and bolted together at the construction site. The solid aluminum and glass panels of the building envelope can be freely arranged in a variety of configurations depending on program requirements.
The exterior of the pavilion resembles a horizontal silver tube floating above a reflecting pond, reminiscent of 1960s experimental design capsules. Visitors walk over a bridge above the pond and enter the pavilion from one end of the tube. They proceed through five boxes to exit through the other end. Each box serves a different function while allowing for a large, continuous open space for public viewing and events. The position of the boxes and the interior décor can vary.
The temporary sales pavilion allows OPEN Architecture to realize its vision of mass-customization that they started when the firm started about a decade ago in New York, such as the eco-tube and XYZ housing works.