- Structural Engineer:Shanghai Wildness Structural Des. Firm Inc. (General Partnership) / Yewei Zhang, Weiwei Yu, Qiuyun Li, Yongqian Xu
- Mechanical And Electrical Consultant:Xueyuan Jiao, Yang Cao, Renjie Lu, Jian Shen
- Constructor:Changzhou Haige Decoration Engineering Co., Ltd. / Qiang Liao, Aiming Zhou, Tao He
- Wood Structure Constructor:Shanghai SKF Builder / Ping Ge, Xiaojun Zhuang, Xiangqian Zhou, Xiaoli Gong, Rongrong Xu
- Client:Jiangsu Cotton Lab Clothing Co., Ltd.
- Architect In Charge:Shen Zhuang, Hao Ren, Yu Tang, Jie Zhu
- Design Team:Shen Zhuang, Yu Tang, Jie Zhu, Di Wang, Jian Deng, Yang Ye, Shiyu You, Haochen Zhang, Jiahong Li, Ye Xu(Intern), Weinan Zhou (Intern)
Text description provided by the architects. The client has been operating a clothes store on Tmall successfully, and then in 2017 they designed and created a store focusing on the aesthetics of life by experiencing clothes and catering consumption, and selected a place far away from the downtown to build an offline brand – ‘Cotton Lab’ in the environment of new retail format.
In this online/offline combined new commercial model, the store in the virtual world and the “new retail experience store” in physical world have emerged as a display “window” and a place for experiencing and consumption respectively. This new “internal and external” relationship is prevailing in the Chinese architectural industry.
“After accepting the commission, we are facing three major problems. First problem is how to coordinate and bridge the gap between large-sized inner space of a factory and small-sized space for retail and catering consumption. The second is about how to create attractive space at lower cost. And the third is how to make the new space comfortable economically as the original factory building is simply designed and energy-costing.” Said the architect, “Finally we chose a ‘House in House’ design strategy which aims to build a complete new-type independent structure inside the main factory building to balance these two major functions.
Two high, straight and transparent chambers of the “House in House” which go parallel in north-south direction are the same in the outline, as they adopt a standard cross-section of arch shape with sharp point in the middle but completely different in construction. One chamber for clothing which uses steel structure is totally white, which appears so charming and fashionable that it is just appropriate for clothes display.
The other chamber is a combination of steel-timber structured catering space and multifunctional space featured as comfortableness presented by the architect. The broken line-shaped wooden poles hanging over head adds both intimate feeling and sense of steadiness.
The main factory building applies natural ventilation as the first defense for the space to form an initial environment while two newly-added structures apply new-type ventilation system to make up an independent and fully closed air-conditioning environment separately. Such system allocation does not only solve the functional problems but also emerge eventually as a complete set of visual model fully matching to the structure in the space.
The entrance lobby of the building connects with the outer space directly in addition to the connection with other sites of the “Cotton Lab” includes: restaurant, clothes retail store and indoor activity space.
Neither of the newly-added chambers occupy too much in this factory building but to leave a vacancy between them where there are a lot of sports and passive facilities for both children and adults. People may feel wandering in street or square when they take a leisure time here. Thanks to the “House in House” or “Interior of the interior” design, everyone is able to experience a kind of “mild exterior” when staying inside the factory building.