With a design inspired by a “floating cloud by the sea,” the aptly titled Aranya Cloud Center is a multi-use civic center in Qinhuangdao, China. Its elegant form was created by MAD Architects, and when completely constructed it will bring almost 30,000 square feet (2,579 square meters) of community spaces to the area.
The idea of the floating cloud is reinforced with a mainly glass ground floor that brings plenty of natural light into the center and emphasizes the stark white of the cloud area. To achieve this, white stained glass panels create the shiny and curved surfaces of the cloud itself. In this way, the project fits into the natural landscape both by mimicking an organic form and by literally reflecting the landscape in the polished façade.
Though ground-level views from the exterior certainly show how the building seems to float like a cloud, aerial views demonstrate another interesting narrative: the white stone garden. A low white wall surrounds the immediate landscape and helps the center to read as a smooth, white pebble in a manicured garden.
Visitors approach the center through this garden on a main road that leads to a large pool of water. The pool, like the white glass of the cloud, reflects the landscape and further relates the architecture to the natural world. Once visitors enter, they see that the cloud shape is far more dynamic than a simple bubble with a swirling roof feature. A central core keeps the interior column-free with generous circulation paths to the exhibition space, conference room, theater, and other flexible event spaces.
The Aranya Cloud Center is currently under construction and is planned to be completed by 2022. Keep scrolling for more incredibly atmospheric renderings of the project below.