A striking new pavilion on Haikou Bay – the first of 16 to be built this year!

Beginning a book is like taking the first step of an exciting new adventure – and that’s exactly how the designers of The Cloudscape would like visitors to feel when they enter the new sculptured public space, the first of sixteen coastal pavilions commissioned by the Chinese city of Haikou as part of an ambitious new cultural landmark project on Hainan Island.

Designed by Beijing-based MAD Architects, the free-flowing 1380 sq m waterfront structure comprises a library and reading space capable of holding 10,000 books, a multi-functional audio-visual area, free for public use, a café, barrier-free restrooms, a nursery and a roof garden.

Circular openings throughout the pavilion are reminiscent of holes forged by wildlife or the sea, blurring the boundary between architecture and nature. The varying sizes of the openings in the continuous organic form allow natural light into the interior and create a natural ventilation effect to cool the building in Haikou’s year-round warm climate.

According to MAD’s lead architect Ma Yansong, people can observe the sky and the sea through the holes, as if looking at a familiar world through the passage of time and space. “This layering of atmospheres, and the collision between people and space, creates a sense of living ritual.”

An historic port city on the southern tip of China, Haikou was once an important stop on the Maritime Silk Road. With the more recent development of Hainan Island as a tourism destination and free trade zone, the city launched the bold initiative, called “Pavilions by the Seaside,” to enrich the city’s cultural importance by strengthening the connection between its public spaces and humanities and architecture.

Through the Haikou Tourism and Culture Investment Holding Group, it invited and commissioned leading architects and artists from around the world to create 16 large-scale permanent pavilions along a 32-kilometre stretch of coastline fronting Haikou Bay and Jiangdong New Area.

Based on the creativity and striking design of The Cloudscape, the Haikou coastline is sure to be a sight to behold when all sixteen pavilions are in place, scheduled for the end of this year.