While working in Shanghai, I contributed to the roof design of the Xinyu Natural History Museum. With a structural roof system already established, my task was to design a series of window openings that would reveal the complex structural system.
The architectural theme of this museum is that it is one with the rolling mountains that envelop it. As such, the building literally emerges from the earth with six columns that form an undulating roof canopy.
A triangular grid supports this unique structural design. A hexagon shape is naturally formed from a triangle if the corners are trimmed. Where the columns are located, the grid converges downward, and the triangle grid transforms into a rectangular one. The challenge is allowing the hexagon to morph with the column.
After much exploration, I devised a way for the openings to stretch proportionally while still retaining reference to the original hexagon shape. The average hexagon diameter in plan is about 2 meters. At the top tier, the height stretches to 3 meters. At the second tier it becomes 5, and at the bottom the hexon height is 8 meters tall.