MVRDV Transforms Disused Urban Factory into Creative Hub in Shenzhen, China

MVRDV Transforms Disused Urban Factory into Creative Hub in Shenzhen, China

MVRDV has just unveiled the If Factory, a disused urban structure converted into a new 11.000 m2 creative building, containing a mixture of offices for the Urban Research Institute of China Vanke and offices for rent. Located in one of Shenzhen’s most historic districts, Nantou, the project is the largest proposed renovation in the city to date.

Courtesy of MVRDVCourtesy of MVRDVCourtesy of MVRDVCourtesy of MVRDV+ 13

Designed for the Bureau of Public works of Shenzhen Municipality Nanshan district and real estate company Vanke, the If Factory is mainly, “a simple cleaning and renovation of the old”. In fact, the old structure will be treated to resist aging, preserving the building’s history, and keeping the exposed concrete frame. Moreover, “exterior walls of the new offices are set back from this frame to create perimeter balconies, […] walls are glass, while the floors of these balconies include glass blocks that mark the entrances to the building”.

Courtesy of MVRDV
Courtesy of MVRDV

Located in Nantou, an urban village of Shenzhen, in process of becoming a cultural and creative hub, the project takes on a public wooden stairway, a new proposed addition by the MVRDV’s design, carving “its way through the building from the ground floor to the roof, at one point protruding from the façade on the fourth floor”.


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Providing visitors with a view into the activities within, “ensuring that this creative hub acts with transparency and remains connected to the community life”, the staircase leads to a landscaped public roof terrace, the third intervention known as The Green House. A bamboo maze divides the rooftop into different rooms, each containing a different activity, including a dance room, a dining room, a reading room, and many other themes for relaxation and gathering.

Courtesy of MVRDV
Courtesy of MVRDV

Nantou is a special and fascinating place. It is very important for Shenzhen. It’s really rewarding to return to this building after we exhibited here during the Shenzhen Biennale in 2017 with our ‘Vertical Villages’ and ideas for the future of cities. Our proposal draws on that ambition to make this part of Shenzhen a creative force, but it also remains in touch with the people of Nantou, their needs, and the history of the place. -- Winy Maas, MVRDV founding partner.

Courtesy of MVRDV
Courtesy of MVRDV

In collaboration with the Urban Research Institute of Vanke, vaLue Design, and the Shenzhen Bowan Architecture Design Institute, the design put in place “a temporary canvas façade for the building to be used during the construction process”, portraying a visual of the completed building, to be recycled into tote bags once it’s no longer needed. In addition, the ground floor level is currently hosting an exhibition for Shenzhen’s 40th Anniversary about the history and development of the Pearl River. MVRDV also worked with Studio Boris Maas to develop “Nantou Odyssey”, a special stool design used in a related exhibition being held in the Nantou Re-gallery.

Courtesy of MVRDV
Courtesy of MVRDV

  • Project Name: If Factory
  • Location: Shenzhen, China
  • Year: 2020
  • Client: Bureau of Public Works of Shenzhen Municipality Nanshan District; Shenzhen Vanke Development Ltd.
  • Size and Programme: 11,000m2 Office
  • Architect: MVRDV
  • Founding Partner in charge: Winy Maas
  • Partner: Wenchian Shi
  • Design Team: Lorenzo Mattozzi, Guang Ruey Tan, Peter Chang, Cai Zheli, Echo Zhai, Pim Bangert, Elien Deceuninck, Daehee Suk, Monika Wiecha, Alberto Menozzi, Alexis Lode, Anamarija Vrzina, Enrica Perrot, Luca Beltrame, Michele Tavola, Hengwei Ji
  • Visualizations: Antonio Coco, Pavlos Ventouris
  • Director MVRDV Asia: Steven Smit
  • Strategy and Development: Jammy Zhu
  • Project planning and design management: Urban Research Institute of China Vanke; vaLue Design
  • Co-architect: Shenzhen Bowan Architecture Design Institute
  • Landscape architect: Yuanye Landscape Design
  • Lighting designer: GD-Lighting Design
  • Façade Consultant: PAG
  • Local Interior architect: Biaogao Design

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Cite: Christele Harrouk. "MVRDV Transforms Disused Urban Factory into Creative Hub in Shenzhen, China" 18 Aug 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/945932/mvrdv-transforms-disused-urban-factory-into-creative-hub-in-shenzhen-china> ISSN 0719-8884
Courtesy of MVRDV

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