13/03/2019: Prepared for everything

gmp completes training center for disaster management in Shanghai

Competition 2013—1st place
Meinhard von Gerkan and Nikolaus Goetze
Competition project management
Hinrich Müller
Competition design team
Dominika Gnatowicz, Gudmundur Jonsson
Detail design project management
Evelyn Pasdzierny
Detail design team
Tanja Gutena, Gudmundur Jonsson, Alexander Montero, Uli Rösler, Ho-Jin Wi, Laetizia Hackethal
Construction management team
Zhan Jin, Mengxuan Qu, Lin Wang
Partner practice in China
Tongji Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd.
WES & Partner
Oriental Land Shanghai
Site area
6.5 ha
26,500 m²
Construction period

With the Shanghai Public Safety Education Training Base, a new attraction has been created in the Oriental Land park in Shanghai: a training center where children and young people can learn how to behave correctly in dangerous situations. In response to this special building brief, the architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) have designed a sculptural complex of buildings. A parametrically designed facade consisting of diamond-shaped metal panels emphasizes the visual impact of the building and, depending on the angle of light, seems to merge the structure with the sky and the landscape. The Oriental Land Shanghai leisure park at the eastern shore of Lake Dianshan is located some 27 kilometers outside the city of Shanghai at Zhujiajiao in the Qingpu District. The extensive terrain in the style of a landscape park includes a range of different exhibition areas from the fields of science, culture, and technology in combination with a wide range of sports and leisure facilities.
The Shanghai Public Safety Education Training Base, designed by Architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners, was developed in close proximity to the technical exhibition complex: a training center where school children can learn how to behave correctly in dangerous situations. A range of different scenarios are presented, from everyday emergencies through to natural disasters. The school children are trained in assessing dangerous situations in everyday life and to react appropriately. Subjects include the safe handling of fire, behaving correctly in road traffic, first aid in accidents, and orderly evacuation from the underground or the school bus. Natural disasters, such as earthquakes and meteorological phenomena, including tornados and thunderstorms, are presented by way of 4D simulations. In first-aid training the school children learn, using a dummy, how to provide medical aid to an injured person.
The three-story development consists of five parallel blocks that are slightly offset from each other and whose upper floors cantilever at the ends. A central main hall running from north to south connects the building blocks, thus creating an overall building complex. The main hall has been designed as an atrium that extends through all stories and, at first-floor level, functions as a central meeting point. The different subject-specific building blocks are accessed from the lobby and the surrounding galleries. The basement has been designed in the manner of an underground station with a platform and a 1:1 scale model of an underground train. In order to replicate the real-life situation, the access routes from the atrium lobby to the underground railway station feature escalators and elevators, thus making it possible to carry out training for evacuation scenarios.
The training center was built as an in-situ concrete skeleton building. A scale-like metal facade consisting of diamond-shaped panels covers the entire building complex; only the north and south entrances and the junctions between the blocks feature glazed facades. The room-high glazing between the building blocks provides views into the landscape, making the sequence of blocks evident to the visitor as he passes through the building. The metal panels of the facade are finished in a bluish-gray, which means that—depending on the angle of the light—the training center seems to merge with its environment as if camouflaged. Perforated panels allow light to fall into the rooms behind them and cover the ventilation openings. The diamond-shaped panels have been cut from folded metal sheeting and therefore are rigid. The dimensions of the equilateral squares vary within the facade, with a maximum diameter of two meters. Parametric facade design was used to make economic serial production of the panels possible in spite of the complex geometry of the exterior envelope—an important factor given the tight budget.

Christian Gahl
gmp Architekten

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