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Kokaistudios has recently completed the architectural and interior design of Dongyi Mansion for BM Holdings, one of Shanghai’s largest developers. Located on Changshu Lu in Shanghai’s central Jing ‘an district, the 2,000 square metre building was a 5-storey movie theatrebuilt in the 1980s. It was purchased by BM Holdings after it fell into disrepair, and converted into a boutique office space by Kokaistudios to meet the burgeoning demand for this real estate class in central Shanghai.
Urban renewal projects in a metropolis such as Shanghai areoften challenging and Kokaistudios role is how to approach these projects with an innovative spirit while balancing the various stakeholders’ interests at the same time. On one hand, we fully respect the rich cultural environment of the project site and we aim to achieve a harmonious integration of space and landscape through our design.
On the other hand, we hope to inject new vitality into the urban texture.To maximise Dongyi Mansion’s potential as a modern office space, Kokaistudios rearranged the site layout and reinterpreted the façade. The ground floor volume has been set back dramatically to create a covered square, creating extra public spaces even in a private development project. The space, lined with columns, invites circulation and adds openness to the community. It also alleviates pressure on the narrow pavement, making it safer for all road users. The additional glass pavilion has a hipped roof carefully designed to hide behind the main façade in order to respect standard eye view and the neighbour’s rights to light.
The building façade effortlessly assimilates a “stone” theme. Taking into account the load-bearing structure of the building, lightness and texture wereequally important in the material selection process. Glass fibre reinforced concrete panels with a stone coating were selected as they are an ideal choice to give off the heaviness and durable feeling that echoes the history of the environment, and yet are relatively light to bear. In contrast to the GRC, the aluminum panels and glasses of the metal frame windows have an air of lightness and coolness, sending out fresh breath to the city. The ratio of concrete to windows on the façade is 50/50, allowing a good control on sunlight and offers a change from the trend of steel glass towers.
Dongyi Mansion’s façade also works to create coherence on the exterior by concealing the different floor heights.Walking through the covered space, visitors feel like they are coming out of a portal as they arrive at the exceptionally high lobby. The atrium with strong visual tension brings visitors a pleasant surprise and creates an impression immediately. With the intention to bring in as much light as possible, the atrium cuts centrally into the building so lightcan trickle into various units. The corridor encircling the atrium on each floor is animated by the ever changing shadow cast by the vertical timber louvre and the stainless steel handrail. The louvre also serves to maintain privacy between different floors. Bridges cutting across the atrium enforce the building’s structure, and provide good viewing points for occupants to experience the space at its full volume.
The façade’s contemporary language continues indoors with “timber”as the theme of Dongyi Mansion’s interior. Together with the use of natural light, Kokaistudios aims to create a relaxed and warm environment that is reminiscent of the many historical alleys and buildings that are in close proximity. Using only a simple colour palette and limited materials, Kokaistudios reinforces the architectural qualities of the space.
The most striking feature of the interior is the deep block of Chinese marble stone at the lift core, which creates continuity between the floors.The building is divided into five office floors, the first and second floors hold large, open plan office space while the third and fourth floors each houses four office units of various sizes. The offices enjoy large windows that frame the environment in interesting ways. With the lift lobby, washrooms and services clustered on the north and south side of the floorplate, maximum efficiency is ensured. The top floor will be occupied by BM Holdings and includes a terrace that enjoys charming views of the neighbourhood.
Kokaistudios’design scheme emphasises on retaining the building, keeping its original shape as a way to protect the existing urban texture in terms of environment and social life. It is our belief that mid-sized buildings like Dongyi Mansion, which are common in Shanghai, would benefit from intelligent refurbishment that adds function and value to them. They are crucial components in fast growing cities that are in danger of losing invaluable culture and heritage to market driven developments. Through renewal, buildings can serve as a medium between the old and the new, adding quality to neighbourhoods whilst maintaining a city’s integrity at the same time. Dongyi Mansion is a good example of quality renovations, to be followed by many more to come.
Location: 88 Changshu Rd, Shanghai, China
Type: Offices – Interiors
Area: 1124 sqm
Chief Architects: Andrea Destefanis , Filippo Gabbiani
Design Manager: Liwei
Architectural Design Team: Pietro Peyron, Yong Zheng, Chang Liu, Neo Nie
Interior Design Team: Rake Wang, Lianzhong Fu, Ada Sun, Seven Shi, Suju Kim
Photographs: Charlie Xia