Text description provided by the architects. The Nanshi power station’s 165-meter-tall chimney standing by the Huangpu River has been well-known since it was transformed to a huge thermometer in the 2010 Shanghai Expo. Next to it, the station’s main factory building was eventually revived as the Shanghai’s new contemporary art museum, namely the Power Station of Art. As a result, there rises a huge demand of car parking and a garage is severely necessary.
It is a great challenge to build a garage at the foot of the chimney as the site is very limited. With the volume of 100×20×9m, the building stretches along the roads and surround the chimney in a “U” shape, responding to the north yard of the museum. The smooth as-cast-finish concrete dialogues with the rough concrete and the exposed structure shows respect to the old factory building. The continuous 150mm-thick as-cast-finish concrete wall folds and wraps all the programs: car parking, bicycle parking and ramps at the two ends.
Through the long window on the second floor, there shows the crowns of trees alongside the roads and further the opposite side of the Huangpu River. The 1000sqm roof platform provides a lively space for diverse activities. Its 9m height level enables people to look over the tree crowns and see the river banks. A white bridge is added, connecting the main building and the chimney, in order to satisfy the future exhibition function in the chimney. Two triangle staircases are hung onto the concrete wall without additional columns and one may feel the chimney is touchable when wandering on the staircases. A short bridge connects the garage and the chimney, creating interaction. Four skylights provide natural illumination and meanwhile enhance the visitors’ perception of the existence of the chimney. The white pebbles on the second floor make the light pervade over the space and the hollowed pattern on the concrete wall reflects the outline of the fire escape stairs in the main building. In fact, from the very beginning of the design, the architects had decided to leave multiple possibilities for the function of the second floor; it could be bicycle parking, art studio, or café, etc.