Structural Consultant: Zhang Zhun/ AND Office
Ldi: Shanghai Municipal Engineer Design Institution
Landscape: Sasaki Associates
Client: Xuhui Riverfront Development Investment and Construction Ltd.
Text description provided by the architects. We designed a series of public facilities in the Runway Park, which was renovated from Longhua airport with a 100-years history located at the west bank of Shanghai Huangpu River. This project is a concentrated part of the whole series with three buildings including a community pavilion, a coffee shop, and a restaurant.
Context and Layout
The overall layout was based on the linear site of the park. We set up a series of concrete walls with different length and spacing in the short direction. They divide spaces and support a truss-made folded plate roof system. As a metaphor of airplane takeoff, these fluctuated pitched roofs-extending along the runway-establish a historical connection with the past.
A group of internal spaces perpendicular to the runway are defined by walls and pitched roofs while being extensively connected with each other, just like a gathered group of homes. This spatial ambiguity between open and enclose offers more freedom and possibilities for future usage.
Extension of Homes
Like traditional houses, when the height of cornice (2.8m) and the grade of the roof（53 degree） is decided， the rooftops can be determined by the depths of the spaces, and the bay of the spaces is determined by the structural span of the folded plate and spatial needs.
Thus, a settlement of double-pitched roof buildings is supported by scattered concrete walls. Big and small roofs are interlaced, creating a row upon row of wavy volumes like a converged village. The scale of the building on the short direction is based on the daily experience of traditional living spaces.
On the long section, the pitched roofs stretch lengthwise far beyond traditional bay size, and become continuous roof along the past airport runways. Under the cover of the roofs, these two different scales compose a new spatial order. This is what we call Extension of Homes, a spatial order with both independence and openness generated from function and site context.
Taking two gable walls supporting a pitched roof as a prototype of traditional house, four concrete walls supporting two double-pitched roofs is then a basic performance of the activity pavilion project. Flexibly arranged concrete walls supporting multiple roofs extending longitudinally create the fundamental logic of the special system.
The Anima of Folded Plate
A a variation of folded plate structure, the roofs’ valleys are at the same height, while the peaks are different according to span and depth. By utilizing the overall height of the folded plates, large spans can be achieved lengthwise with relatively thin slabs. Here, we used steel trusses for the folded plate roofs, realizing a largest longitudinal span of 20 meter with the structural thickness of only 120mm. The welded SHS trusses are connected to the concrete sheer walls by embedded hinge joints.
The roof uses titanium zinc system as its finish with a total thickness of only 240mm. The lightness and suspension of the roofs resembles that of airplane wings, which is also a response to the site’s history as an airport.
The concrete sheer walls are not traditional gable walls, but 2.65 meter high rectangular walls. Natural light from the high windows between the walls and interlaced folded plates enriches different spatial atmospheres with light and shadow. The tectonic logic of putting the roof on the wall can be seen directly from the top of walls.
The east and west façade have large windows with 450mm high window sills, and the buildings are facing west with strong insolation, so adjustable louvers are assembled in the windows to control daylight and create cozy environment. The window frames and sills are made of wooden textual aluminum, which adds a warm feeling for the simple interior of the buildings.
An Adaptive System
All buildings of the series in the Runway Park are generated from this structural system. By flexibly using the system, we also created different features for each building. The semi-open space of the coffee shop near the metro exit, the courtyard in between different zones of the community pavilion, and the sunken space plus the penthouse of the restaurant all reflect the adaptive spatial potential of the system.
The activity pavilion was completed with only simple decoration. So after merchants move in, they will make small renovations based on their own needs.
The restaurant uses the sunken house and loft as office space. The northern part is enlarged as pantry, and the middle part is used as dining area. The restaurant changed the windows into push-pull folding windows, which allows full openness and establishes dialogue with outside landscape.
The coffee shop has accommodated the Brand CoffeeCall. People who use the metro always pass by this shop, for a takeout or sit-down coffee and snack. It has already become one of the most media-popular coffee shop in Shanghai.
The community pavilion, as the public activity facility, will be a venue for cultural communication. We hope the flexibility of the spaces can inspire more potential in daily use.