The Rizhao Visitor Center is located on the North part of the 2km long Shanhatian Beach Park in Rizhao, east China. It sits adjacent to a plaza which is expected to attract massive tourists during the high season. The Visitor Center consists of two levels. The structure of the building above ground was minimized in order to fit into the natural environment while at the same time the underground part of the building offers various functions for the park from shops, cinemas, restaurants, leisure facilities, public shower rooms etc. Pedestrians will mainly enter the plaza from the east, either through 3 open stairs into the building or 4 different pathways toward the sea.
All 19 individual buildings were developed out of one prototype. Each building is site specific varying in size and different orientations to accommodate different functional requirements. Together they generate a new configuration with an emphasis on a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces.
A special steel structure was designed to fit the complex building form while at the same time creating a large span column free space. A parametric design technique has been adopted throughout the entire design process, from form finding, structure optimization, facade penalization and construction documentation, which ensure that the complex shape can be produced by a low technology manufacturer.