Lab D+H was commissioned to design the Kinma Youth Commune, Nanjing. This was to be the first international youth community in Nanjing and was to be operated by Yincheng Real Estate and the giant internet mogul–Tecent. The 1.7-hectare Artificial Intelligence (AI) oriented complex brought apartments, hotels, retails, startup incubators and public spaces together, all within one campus.
“Circle” was used as the central landscape strategy for this mixed-use complex. It involved creating a circle of youth that brought young people together with a spatial language of “circle”. The commune included various themed “circles”– Athletic Circle, Reading Circle, Share Circle, Interactive Circle, Open Circle and Party Circle– which were linked by a multi-functional path that runs through the whole commune. Many interactive programs that usually took place indoors were brought out to open spaces, greatly exceeding lifestyle expectations of the young residents. Here, the young generation discovered different “circles” based on their personal interest and also began exploring new lifestyle avenues.
The north-west plaza was first built as a display area for this commune. The curved planters and steps mediated for the 1.8-meter height difference between the building floor and the sidewalk. In front of the display center, two “circles” were built– the Theater Circle and the Interactive Circle. The Theater Circle was to serve as an event space that could switch between promotional and daily activity. The crescent bench served as a sun lounge for people-watching and a venue for commercial events. The Interactive Circle was built as a curved installation that runs 3 meters up from the ground and allows people the benefit of choosing between various postures and activities: sit, recline, lie down, and even different gym activities like performing pull-ups and push-ups. At night, the installation was illuminated by the perforated steel tubes and was transformed into a shining ring. The ventilation wells were transformed into outdoor bars that accommodate comfortable sitting and resting.