Experiencing Geology

Team Leader:
Gavin Scott Coates

Team Members:
Jason Richard Hilgefort

Chong Yan Suen
Zhou Gangyi
Hoilok Heather Lam


Experiencing Geology

The role of design is often about not being loud, but about being modest, yet generous. The location is already layered with visuals, forces, and legacies to allow to seep into the guest. We seek to provide a place for PEOPLE to be comfortable as they take in their relationship with majesty of nature.

Ultimately this place demonstrates our place in TIME. The design seeks to subtly embrace this. We use the series of moments that occur along the process of ascending to the site to not be singular, but cumulative. Much like the experience of the site itself, the design is seen as a process.

The formal qualities were initially informed by the VOLCANIC nature of this location. A sense of simple pooling with a series of places along the walkway were generated. These simple plates look to sited lightly within the existing geography.

The location is defined by a SIX-sided geometry. We consciously avoided mimicking this formal reality and instead translated this into a series of six moments that have a 60-degree chamfered edge that hint the viewer on how to proceed.

In seeking the appropriate materiality for the site, we first wanted to RETAIN the all the existing legacies of the site and intertwine with new elements to form a beautiful whole. The existing plants, rocks, and even concrete elements were retained. All elements are part of the site’s history. We decided to use a concrete mixed with fly ash, and framed by Corten elements to form the majority of the spaces. We believe that over time the staining of the concrete with the rusting steel will form a calm material tone that can evolve with the site itself. Further, the ease of bringing pre-formed elements, bags of concrete, and some framing materials to the site, will allow for minimal impact during construction.

In the end we see this work all about us humans being humbled, yet further INFORMED. We provide places for the visitor to obtain greater knowledge and be safe and comfortable. But the greatest comfort, knowledge, and safety comes from taking the time to reflect on what one stands upon.

Jury’s Citation

The simple and minimal architectural design is not excessive and has a pleasant appearance.  The design blends in with the existing natural landscape, and the treatment to retain the cruciform concrete plinths and rocks is appreciated.  With the safety issue appropriately addressed by railings partially enclosing it, the extended flat viewing platform let visitors direct more of their attention towards the spectacular view, which is more open amongst the entries.  Directional signage embedded on the ground surface shows the directions of vistas in a subtle and unobtrusive way.  Overall, the dialogue between the man-made elements and the natural environment is well balanced, and this approach may be applicable to other sites with similar settings in nature.

It would be better, however, if less concrete is used.  The purity and lightness in the form as conveyed by the drawings may not be realized due to the existing rugged topography, and the concrete platform may need to be divided into smaller prefabricated components for construction purposes.