Close to the site of 2019 Yangpu Urban spatial art seasonal exhibition, the former Shanghai Medical equipment factory has reborn. This project is aimed to renovate the old industrial facilities at minimum cost and expand commercial, recreational, exhibition and serves space which compose a 7/24 lifestyle providing public urban space back to the citizen and redefine the function of the site.
Under limited budget for renovating functionalities, the biggest challenge for architects is to fully utilize the budget. We have reflected the condition in three aspects. First issue was how to wash off the tags of being boring and outdated and maximize the changes with the constrain of the budget. Next problem was to adjust the functions which allows the implementation of commercial consciousness to attracts more visitor. The last one was how to raise the cultural influence to attract and keep more people which makes the compound more sustainable.
Strategy one: Renovation of the existing buildings, spatial reorganization of multiple buildings.
Before the renovation, there were four multi stories buildings siting in the site. Out of the four, three buildings surround one plaza and formed an alley with the last one. The street facing elevation was monotonous without obvious entrance, and the plaza was only accessible by staff. The original purposes of the building were for equipment and industrial manufacturing. The long span concrete structure provided generous and well-lit space which was prime for renovation. At the start of this project, the visitor footprint has been reorganized into a continuous line which makes the entrance and courtyard more obvious to the public. Secondly, the spaces were reconstructed to build in new functionalities, introducing more natural light for added comfort with full windows. The forms and colours of the four buildings are unified. The colours street façade is basically divided into three sections. Red is the theme colour, and white is used for interaction of different function with touches of yellow to create graphical difference. The three colours compliment each other which create diversity but not chaos with minimum effort.
Strategy two: Boosting the cultural influence by adding more interventions.
Inside the compound, we mainly focused on creating more commercial opportunities by rebalance the ambiguity and openness between the buildings. Firstly, at the entrance, new horizontal steel structure is implemented which connects two individual buildings into one and elevate the height of the structure. The main entrance is formed by the diagonally placed steel beam, which implicate direction of movement. The entrance unit is designed as the “Hyde corner”. The Hyde corner is inspired by the Hyde park corner in London. The grey space created by the curvature, which indicate an arc, establishes an unimpeded semi-disclosed space, and provide space for the interaction between people and architecture. Perforated panels are intensively used for the façade to create transparency which reduce the optical mass of the building, and at same time minimized the construction budget.
After entering the complex, canvases are placed above the vertical axis to the entrance to cover the passage to soften the space. They are designed to be easily moved around and reinstalled. They provide shades to the visitors during daytime and transform into projection screens for the digital media during night-time. Walking to the courtyard, the three surrounding buildings are connected via the “cloud bridges”, integrating all the building for convenient accessibility as well as emergency evacuation. Finally, a new cultural theatre is added at the transition section between the bridges and ground floor. The new theatre is constructed by approximately 20 horizontal steel structural units reinforced by vertical units which resemble the shape of a cocoon. With the colour of morning light, the cocoon implies the rebirth of the site and the climax of the journey.
The journey from the crossed entrance and canvas corridor to cloud bridges, and further from the cultural theatre to the courtyard, a scenery walk connects all the features while turning the internal space into an open space and create a more integrated and social space.
Strategy three: dilute the definition of the functionalities to provide more possibilities for the future.
New architecture is not just defined as new by its physical state, but moreover its alignment to the definition of new in the forthcoming architecture standard. For the cause of sustainability, we have initialized a semi open space as a greeting space in the U shape courtyard. with the ambiguity of functionalities presented the physical space, it empowered the architecture with open possibilities.
After renovation of the project, people can meet and greet at the corner of Hyde, memorize life under the crossed frames, enjoy the walking on the cloud bridges, gather at the theatre, have fun in the courtyard, host events at the lobby, to shop and have coffee meetups in naturally lit open space. In the future, where architecture brings in life, city never gets old.