Collaborating Architect and EngineerShanghai Xian Dai Architectural Design Group
ClientChildren Enterprise (UK) Limited
Text description provided by the architects. Family Box, an already established children’s facility chain in China, was ambitious to set their first step in metropolitan Shanghai by transforming the space into a dynamic and cheerful play environment for children. The existing premises of 2,100sqm in a residential area was extremely dark and unattractive as the façade cladding covered most of the windows and a chaotic organization of columns, beams and cores was revealed inside. Crossboundaries reorganized the space and created logic to the sequence of experiencing the facility.
From the entrance the visitor can immediately see the dominant green staircase volume, which serves as the prime circulation path between ground floor and the swimming pool as well as the changing rooms upstairs.
Following a clear sequence, the parents and children are led from the reception on the ground floor, passing by water-play, open-play and café areas next to the staircase. Each area differentiates from the other by pyramid ceilings and is framed in wood defining the thresholds. A continuous link across the areas is optimized by a color scheme led by a fresh, strong green, used behind perforated panels and at window openings combined with wooden benches.
On the second floor, the corridor adapts to the chaotic cores guiding the visitors toward the swimming pools, with recessed connections to the changing rooms along the way. The green is again applied, in niches along the corridor, combined with a lighter blue and grey base palette throughout. Divided into two, the pool area has a shallow section for beginners and deeper water for swim training, over which three big pyramid ceilings with skylights add height and light to the generic swimming hall that previously existed.