Unit 731 Ruins with 22.5-hectare is an indispensable remnant from World War II, and is now aligned to a 9,997 square-meter War Crimes Museum to memorialise the dark history of warfare.
The design upholds authenticity and integrity throughout the renovation process, which improves the surrounding urban neighbourhoods while preserving the ruins. Since opening the War Crimes Museum has received 400,000 visitors from all over the world each year.
The design objectively presents the local characteristics, history, and collective documentation of the site. It takes a simple and powerful form with implied tectonics to arouse the reflection on the anti-human history with a calm narrative style.
This involves preservation of the physical existences of the destroyed buildings. Tour stops are connected through proposed landscape routes based on the historical path at war. A pedestrian tunnel bypasses the railway and extends the exhibition route to a handful of scattered stops. Rammed earth wall and barbed wire are used along the site boundary to restore historical flashbacks.
The black architectural massing inserts into the ground at a diagonal angle with a sunken entrance plaza, filtering the noise from the urban environment and providing a commemorative venue for public gathering. Both exteriors and interiors set a number of narrative spaces for exhibition scenarios and rhetoric dialogues with the relics.
Located in northeast China, the design faces the difficulties of severe cold winter and a short construction period of eleven months. Steel frame structures are employed for efficiency in factory prefabrication and on-site installation to shorten the construction cycle.
To solve the frost heaving problem of soil mass in the freezing and thawing process of groundwater in winter, cement-mixing piles are arranged in the periphery of the foundation as waterproof curtain walls with drainage layers and sumps below the basement slabs.
For building energy saving, the design uses aerated concrete for infill wall in the exhibition hall. The interior wall and ground cover, the curtain wall and landscape ponds all make use of a locally produced black granite, for a reduction in transportation cost. Moreover, the
MEP team employed several green energy-saving technologies and effectively reduces energy consumption and operation costs.
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Architectural Design & Research Institute South China University of Technology Co., Ltd.
Unit 731 War Crimes Museum