on the banks of shanghai’s huangpu river, kengo kuma has transformed a disused shipyard into a vibrant new destination that contains a theater and retail outlets. built in 1972, the brick building was the last factory existing in lujiazui — now the city’s thriving financial center. when in use, massive ships were built inside the cavernous structure before being delivered directly onto the adjacent river. consequently, the building comprises a series of 200 meter-long column-less sheds.
kengo kuma and associates (KKAA) was tasked with filling this volume with commercial programming and a mid-sized theater facility. in order to preserve the building’s spatial qualities, the design team created a 30 meter-tall void that runs throughout the entire structure — allowing visitors to experience the shipyard’s impressive scale. the effect is further strengthened by the concrete columns that support the building.
the factory’s north façade, with its original brickwork restored, is oriented to face the river. however, to the south, the factory is more exposed with its heavy concrete columns on view. _‘in order to establish a dialogue between these south and north façades, and emphasize this fascinating duality, we have designed the main façade (west side) as a brickwork gradation changing its density and permeability from the opacity of the north side into the complete transparency of the south side,’_ explains KKAA.
internally, the theater is situated at the eastern end of the building, close to the river. during performances, a curtain at the rear of the stage can be removed, offering views of the river through a large glass window. other projects by kengo kuma in china include a tea house, which was renovated using hollow polyethylene blocks, and a folk museum for the china academy of art.
location: shanghai, china
completed: may, 2017
use: retail, theater, multipurpose room
area: 31,626 sqm
partner in charge: javier villar ruiz
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