Architects: Thanlab Office / Han Tao, Guo Xi, Ma Lina, Zim He, Wang Mohan, Johnny Huang
Location: Beijing, China
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 1,107 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Thanlab Office
The project base is located at the core of the 798 Art Zone and is currently a dilapidated storehouse, which may be dismantled for reconstruction. 798 today is in a transition from an art zone to a cultural and commercial tourism destination. Compared with the normal internal restructuring manners prevalent at 798, the reconstruction will make use of the opportunity to reconsider relationship between art and commerce and their future trend. This is the start of how we set out on this project.
“798 3.0” / Reconsideration of Relationship between Art and Commerce
We use the concept of “798 3.0” to describe the current and future relationship demonstrated at 798 between art and commerce, which intends to incorporate commercial space/artistic space to a more constructive whole with mutual enhancement. Mutual hybrid is the main idea while mutual support is the order. With involvement/support and operation of private capital, the incorporation will be in an integral manner based on which the incorporated relationship will be an integral one both as a concept and as an actual structure.
Hollow Tree Structure
In this project, the structural relationship will be a kind of hollow tree structure. Being hollow defines internal and external relationship, which is built up not only between the structures but also inside the structure, allowing light/vision/air to flow simultaneously inside and outside the structure. Inside is artistic, while outside is commercial. From the structural perspective, art supports commerce; from the operational perspective, commerce supports art. This is the core principle of the “798 3.0” concept.
Elevation as a Sectional Existence
The abnormal hole on the elevation is a natural expression of branch light cylinder extending from inside to spatial boundary. Essentially, the elevation is more like a sectional being. Seen from the whole image, the elevation co-exists in a diversified manner with the surrounding environment through a contrasting stand.
Structure/Function/Space – No Longer Independent from Each Other but Forming a Field of Relationship
The use of steel structure in construction not only lightens as much as possible the tree structure but also makes it transparent, where horizontal and vertical layers are no longer independent but entangle with each other accumulating transparency and resulting in a network space system of multi-layer superposition. People begin to be reluctant of internal or external space and their perception of structure will no longer be rigid or solid of matter but multiple-layer superposition and transparency of atmosphere. The structure will no longer see individually independent objects but forms a spatial field of relationship.
In the relationship field of structure, spatial spans are divided into different scales in an attempt to integrate internally various human activities and application manners. Not the diversified functionalities will determine structuring manners but the integral structuring manners will pack diversified functionalities. In this sense, the manner of space application means to find and demonstrate various potentials not to be defined or executed one by one correspondingly transcendently, or in another word, it is design about functional potentials not transcendent design with clearly-defined functionalities.
Roof as a Place of Events
The light cylinder of the tree structure extends upon the roof and is transformed to outdoor desks and chairs of different furniture scales, the harmoniously diversified distances among which provides spatial places of quality to gathering event activities and dramatic spatial contrast to adjacent industrial plants and urban background.
Future Potential of Temporary Construction
In the real conditions of contemporary China, this type of construction may only acquire an identity of temporary building, which may achieve actual legitimacy only within a limited time period. As to designing, we take this uncertainty into account from the very beginning to cope with possible changes unforeseeable to 798 in the future. Therefore, assembly of steel structure is a certain choice in construction and becomes the final ideal choice as this allows reconstruction at another place though this way of construction is not popular in China. Also due to this reason, the construction itself displays a concrete expression of not totally relying on surrounding environment. More importantly it is an original attempt of self-improvement, which we hope to further research on and develop sustainably.
Text provided by Thanlab Office