Architecture firm Crossboundaries breathed new life into an abandoned building originally built for a financial district in Zhengzhou, a Chinese city that was infamously known as a “ghost city.” Zhengzhou was notorious for its vast number of newly built but unoccupied buildings, however the city has already begun to shed that former label and is seeing a steady increase in activity and population. To inject new life into one of the “ghost” buildings and provide a safe and creative environment for local children, Crossboundaries created the Soyoo Joyful Growth Center, a beautiful adaptive reuse project that combines play with education.
The Soyoo Joyful Growth Center building was once part of a trio of derelict round buildings that were never occupied despite having been built a decade ago. While the round architecture was kept intact, the architects spruced up the facade with brightly colored cantilevered tubes that jut out from the building and frame views of the outdoors. Colored ropes installed diagonally from the roof to the ground crisscross the exterior to soften the original facade of stone and aluminum, while still allowing natural light to pass through.
The gutted interior is replaced with a “subway system” of five colored tubes—red, green blue, yellow, and orange—that extend from the outside and weave through the building at different angles. In addition to “breaking the rigidness oft he floor plates,” the tubes offer children alternative circulation routes and encourage them to explore their environment in different ways. Natural light pours in through a large skylight to the lobby and central atrium. The adaptive reuse building’s flexible open layout encourages interaction and comprises spaces for a variety of activity, from learning to play. A running track and playground is located on the landscaped roof.
Images via Crossboundaries, by Yang Chao Ying