Three old warehouses in Shanghai were recently transformed into an extraordinary artist complex by Archi Union Architects. The remarkable renovation of the old fabric warehouses includes an undulating skin that was inspired by humble materials and the facilities’ former use. Ordinary cinderblocks are transformed into a parametric wall reminiscent of fabric, which allows daylight to flow in through the walls to the gallery inside.
The three adjacent warehouses were combined together — a large open area joins a studio, office, and meeting areas in one warehouse with an exhibition space in the other. The project’s façade consists of a wall of glass shrouded in an undulating cement block skin that provides light and the appearance of movement. The blocks have been stacked and carefully rotated to provide a surprisingly delicate effect that wraps around three sides of the building.
The studio contains 2 built-in rooms and a large, sculptural staircase that leads to an upper office. Much of the original structure has been preserved throughout the project. The central warehouse has been pared down to its structural members, providing an open courtyard for assembly or recreation. Collectively the complex is an elegant expression of humble beginnings framed in a fresh new way.
Images Sheng Zhongha