Location: Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
Project Work Status: Completed Projects
Area: 8,040 Sqm
Client: Verma Properties
Team: Christopher Lee, Bolam Lee, Martin Jameson, Stephie Sun, Charlotte Sue, Kapil Gupta, Suril Patel, Amit Arya, Santosh Thorat, Renu Gupta, Donny Mulya Prijatna, Abdulla Yousufali, Anusha Bajpai And Pranav Chahande Models: Joseph Halligan, Michelle Young, Fung Tsui
Project Completed: 2015
In March 2010, Serie, alongside Grimshaw of London and Pysall Ruge Arkitekten of Berlin were selected to renovate and design four large disused factories in Hangzhou, with Serie and Pysall Ruge designing one of the four factories each, and Grimshaw the remaining two. These factories will form the main urban core for a new city centre, named Hangzhou Xin Tian Di, located 6km northeast of the present city centre.
It became apparent early on that the project faced several conflicting demands. For the project to be economically viable, an insertion of floor areas totalling four times its original footprint would have to be accommodated. On the other hand, to fill up the factory would completely diminish its most unique feature - its 16m high volume. Thus our main concern is to preserve the main hall of the factory as a spectacular internal volume and to accentuate the industrial drama of this massive void by restoring the concrete truss roof structure and by bringing additional light down through a newly glazed lantern. In addition, we are preserving and restoring the other important elements of the original factory design: the crumbling brick facade, the rusting mobile crane, the brick-built industrial chimney and the grand concrete colonnade.
To abstain from the architectural crime of filling the entire main hall with programme, we placed the supporting programme - shops, restaurants, bars and creative offices - in a surrounding plinth. This plinth acts as a device to emphasize the main factory building: in one sense it frames the factory, in another sense it serves as a pedestal above which we come face to face with the factory.
As well as absorbing programme and supporting the factory, the top surface of the plinth gently undulates and is punctured with green patios and water bodies, constituting an abstraction and re-reading of the natural landscape of Hangzhou.
The utilization of the same deep structure as Blue Frog (Circle/Plan) for this project enabled us to rethink the idea of the mat building as a plinth. Here the plinth serves to punctuate the factory as the anchor for the masterplan, with surrounding buildings many times its density. This alternative strategy of rethinking what constitutes an urban core eschews the reliance on hyper dense buildings that accumulates pedestrian flows. Instead, it presents the reclaimed void as a new urban core.