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Stone pavilion in Tibet (China): a colorfully exploded spatial transition

Visitor Center in Tibet

A color-coded mutation

The elevations and façades of the visitor center appear extremely sober and almost get lost into the natural environment.

But this very respectful outside image is only a prelude to the colorful explosion that marks the interior court: by use of mineral pigments, the same stone walls have an entirely different feel and create a unique and engaging spatial experience.

A visitor center combining traditional building techniques, local construction materials and a surprising use of color pigments

The pavilion’s two relatively simple volumes are placed on the two sides of the road, creating some sort of entrance to the village. Despite the relationship they entertain and the materials they share, the two buildings couldn’t be more different: the larger one is more complex and closer to the river, while the  other is small and simple and acts as a counterpoint.


Niyang River visitor center

Mirui Road meanders southwards along the Niyang River, connecting Tibet to the Sichuan province. Daze Village is the doorway to this natural wonder.

Stone: one material transforms one central void into a succession of tilted planes, highlighting views and perspectives


The plan outline is a direct result of the site’s shape, which, being among the few left undeveloped, was almost a forced choice. However, the larger building features several openings, cuts and sliced planes that respond to movement and circulation patterns and create a multi-faceted central court offering framed views of the river.

530bec13c07a80ed3b000007_niyang-river-visitor-center-standardarchitecture-zhaoyang-architects_facade_details-530x760Around the central void are also placed most of the functions that make up the program for the visitor center: ticket office, locker rooms, reception and storage for the rafting activities.

While most of the elements of the project were imposed by the site’s shape or derived from diagrams and analysis, the local stone used as building material is a well-aware tribute to traditional building techniques.

Stone pavilion Japan

At first absent…and neutral… then a sudden chromatic burst. The captivating power of color draws the visitor into  an inwards experience of space

Photography by  © Chen Su


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