- Architect In Charge : Kai Cui
- City : Nanjing
- Country : China
Text description provided by the architects. As an experienced practitioner of the design industry, we have always aspired to create a story.The office space should not only be a place for serious work, but also for a place for friendly mingling. We were surprised to discover this old garment manufacturing factory in the deep recesses of a narrow alley in the Gulou District of Nanjing. She is ironically secluded within the well-trafficked downtown area.
In shaping the spatial structure, we decided to fully respect the space’s nature to to integrate the space with the spirit of the neighborhood. To capture the moment, we needed to balance the conflict between our space’s serenity against the cacophony of her surroundings. We wanted to preserve her façade and characteristic.
When a a visitor takes the first step through the gate, it should seems as though transported through a portal to a different dimension – one that is the antithesis of one step prior. Any passerby will be intrigued and pleased to discover such a portal to transport them to a calm world.
As we delve further, we will see an almost completely open area integrated into the building’s bulk structure. The floor and wall are monolithic – continuous and unified. Through the built-in difference in elevation in the floor, the space is conveniently delineated into different functional zones. One could be in an office with co-workers then within a few steps be drinking tea with friends around a fireplace – reminiscing the past and enjoying the present.
The structural support and beams retain the original appearance of the old civil construction, only for dust cover treatment. The outer layer of the building carries a long history, but we have given it new meaning, a tribute to the present of the decades-old factory building.
The central island bar and the floor are made of the same material,which is our interpretation of the power of nature. Functionally, the bar effectively connect the office areas on both side of the space, realizing efficient work communication .
As designers who grew up in the center of Nanjing, we have a special connection to this city. As Nanjing lies on the Yangtze river, we bridge this relationship by bringing a part of the Yangtze into our fish tank in the form of river stones. The Yangtze river stones bring a deep red, inciting a heavy sense of age into the walls and present in the form of rammed earth wall.
The existing skylight has been repurposed to realize the interflow between indoor and outdoor so that the bamboo inside the space may thrive. Simplicity is not to give up the attention to detail, but to focus on the minutiae. And thus end the story.