The Mountain View / Onexn Architects

The Mountain View / Onexn Architects

Main entrance and facade after renovation. Image © Chao ZhangNight view of east facade . Image © Chao ZhangRestaurant entrance. Image © Chao ZhangSkylight and stairs after renovation. Image © Chao Zhang+ 54

  • Architects: Onexn Architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  6000
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2019
  • Photographs Photographs:  Chao Zhang
  • Cheif Architects:Bo Zhang, Jingjing Wang
  • Design Team:Bingxiang An, Yanli Fu, Jianhai Qiu, Ming Zeng, Wanyue Wang, Jingjing Yuan, Ziying Cai (Intern), Peichuan Jiang (Intern)
  • Building Construction Drawings:Ming Chen
  • Interior Construction Drawings:Nanfang Li, Wenkui Li
  • Structural Consultant:Gongmin Tang
  • Lighting Design:PUDI Design
  • City:Shenzhen
  • Country:China
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Night view of east facade . Image © Chao Zhang
Night view of east facade . Image © Chao Zhang

Natural and serene surroundings
Situated beside Yanhan Mountain, the building is very close to nature and not far away from the city as well. It boasts tranquil natural surroundings, and faces multiple building clusters and public spaces of OCT LOFT, Shenzhen. The client's design brief didn't specify a clear direction for the renovation of the dilapidated building, so the architects had to identify a most appropriate solution among various possibilities.

Semi aerial view of west facade. Image © Chao Zhang
Semi aerial view of west facade. Image © Chao Zhang

Nature-facing building
In the bustling concrete jungle, nature is very precious. The original building is dilapidated, contrasting yet integrating with lush greenery around it. Through prudent design intervention, Onexn Architects intended to establish a new dialogue between nature and the building, and create experiences that are relevant to daily life. The building consists of 5 floors. It adjoins a dormitory building and a court on east and south sides, and nestles under Yanhan Mountain on north and west sides. Before renovation, the first floor of the building was still in use, while the storeys above were in disrepair and leaky. However, both the client and Onexn Architects saw new possibilities, hoping to bring people back to the building and feel the unique beauty of nature.

Setbacks of renovated building facades coexist with nature. Image © Chao Zhang
Setbacks of renovated building facades coexist with nature. Image © Chao Zhang

Combination of art and commerce
The project is situated within OCT LOFT, a creative and cultural park that has accumulated rich cultural resources over the years. Based on the surrounding business environment, the client hoped that commercial operations in the building emphasize nature, integration, rarity and complementarity. After investigation and research, Onexn Architects decided to carry out transformation and renovation based on three key points: combination of art and commerce, complementarity of catering space and workspace, and branding-oriented spatial operation.  

South facade after renovation. Image © Chao Zhang
South facade after renovation. Image © Chao Zhang
Main entrance and facade after renovation. Image © Chao Zhang
Main entrance and facade after renovation. Image © Chao Zhang

Through renovating and repurposing the building, the architects aimed to create a distinctive and mix-used cultural complex, which integrates diversified functional spaces such as store, restaurant, art gallery, theater, workspace, etc. The team incorporated a series of new business modes into the architectural space, to reorganize and activate the old property, blend it with surrounding fabric, and create a new artistic destination for the city.

East facade. Image © Chao Zhang
East facade. Image © Chao Zhang

Iconic facades that blend into nature
New facades were naturally formed through enriching and integrating architectural spaces. The architects created large areas of blank surfaces and void spaces at staggering heights, and attached great importance to visitors' experience, including the journey of entering the building and interaction with outdoor environment from the interior. The team hoped that visitors would be touched by nature and stimulated to interact with the building along the way walking close to the architecture.

Architectural surface generation strategy
Architectural surface generation strategy

The east facade is partially hidden in nature. The original entrance of 1F is not used as the main entrance of the building, since the lease of the existing canteen on this floor hasn't expired yet. Instead, the architects made use of the height difference of the site, and set the main entrance beside the west square, which can be reached by pedestrians and vehicles along a slope. Trees reveal a corner of the slope. The boundary of the slope is defined by weathering steel screens, which help guide visitors to stroll upwards and reach the main entrance.

The veranda on the east facade provides an open view to OCT LOFT. Image © Chao Zhang
The veranda on the east facade provides an open view to OCT LOFT. Image © Chao Zhang

Standing on the small yet open square in front of the main entrance, visitors can have a panoramic view of west and south facades of the building. Onexn Architects tried to create a holistic building surface. The whole architecture is like a hill, with stacked volumes extending to the sky and Yanhan Mountain. The terrace above the main entrance is connected with a black spiral staircase that leads to 4F and 5F. Diversified structural blocks and distinct material textures complement each other, together producing an iconic facade.

Main entrance. Image © Chao Zhang
Main entrance. Image © Chao Zhang

Multiple functions and diversified spaces
How to organize diversified functional areas in a reasonable manner and even leave space for future functional adjustment was a primary consideration. 2F is a vigorous space for pop-up market and exhibition, while 3F mainly functions as workspace. Restaurant, art gallery and theater are set on 4F and 5F. The fourth floor is the most complex space, which accommodates an urban exhibition hall, a bookstore, a gallery space, and theater entrance, etc.

Rooftop terrace blends with nature. Image © Chao Zhang
Rooftop terrace blends with nature. Image © Chao Zhang

4F - Urban Exhibition Hall
As the elevator reaches 4F, the urban exhibition hall will firstly come into view. Onexn Architects took advantage of the 1.2-meter height difference within the space, and created an experiential exhibition space where visitors can wander around. After completion of the renovation, Onexn Architects curated an exhibition themed on "Concept of Dialogue" in this exhibition hall, which displayed the whole process of the project, from preliminary discussion to construction.

 "Concept of Dialogue" architectural exhibition in 4F exhibition hall. Image © Chao Zhang
"Concept of Dialogue" architectural exhibition in 4F exhibition hall. Image © Chao Zhang

Staircase renovation (2F-4F)
Staircase stretches from 2F to 4F, forming an atrium space. Natural light penetrates and filters into the atrium. The staircase is the main traffic node within the architectural space, and at the same time provides a venue for resting and salon activities.

Skylight and stairs after renovation. Image © Chao Zhang
Skylight and stairs after renovation. Image © Chao Zhang

4F – Bookstore
The bookstore is set around the skylight and beside the stairwell. The skylight and large areas of glass bring daylight and outdoor greenery into the space, thereby enhancing fusion and interaction between interior and outside.

Natural light and French windows blur the boundary between the bookstore and the outside. Image © Chao Zhang
Natural light and French windows blur the boundary between the bookstore and the outside. Image © Chao Zhang
Gallery entrance and reinforced structures. Image © Chao Zhang
Gallery entrance and reinforced structures. Image © Chao Zhang

4F - Art gallery
Opposite to the bookstore is an art gallery, where Onexn Architects retained an existing structural column. The exposed reinforced concrete column contrasts with clean and smooth new walls, hence generating a dialogue between the old and new. Besides, it also functions as a clue to the art gallery, where original architectural structures were completely preserved. The existing grid of beams helped form a column-free gallery space. The ceiling shows a strong sense of order and is highlighted by light, which generates a bright and aesthetic environment.

Interior of art gallery. Image © Chao Zhang
Interior of art gallery. Image © Chao Zhang

Theater (3F-4F)
The theater occupies the east side of 3F and 4F. The architects created several setbacks outside theater space, to form a double-height veranda, which guides people to enter the interior and allows them to enjoy and interact with greenery, sunshine and nature. This veranda blurs the boundary between the architecture and the surrounding environment. Steel columns at the corridor area are arranged in a row, which echoes flourishing plants nearby. Another entrance of the theater is set on 3F, which is flat and barrier-free.

Light and space. Image © Chao Zhang
Light and space. Image © Chao Zhang
Rooftop public passage. Image © Chao Zhang
Rooftop public passage. Image © Chao Zhang

5F – Restaurant
The restaurant sits on the top floor. Functional spaces including private dining rooms and kitchen are folded out around the central courtyard and based on external environment. Onexn Architects rotated those volumes and carved out the rooftops, to establish a relatively close relationship between the interior and nature. Each room has a triangular balcony, which helps enhance interaction with nature. Standing here, you can smell the fragrance of plants and feel the mottled tree shadows.   

Rooftop terrace. Image © Chao Zhang
Rooftop terrace. Image © Chao Zhang
Restaurant entrance. Image © Chao Zhang
Restaurant entrance. Image © Chao Zhang

Around the central courtyard is an open-air veranda, which not only links different areas but also blends the space into nature. The veranda is supported by rectangular steel pillars, which are arranged in a matrix, endowing the space with a sense of lightness and order. The restaurant floor is covered by various materials including greenery, pebbles, corrosion-resistant wooden panels and cement, to demarcate different functional spaces.

Facade. Image © Chao Zhang
Facade. Image © Chao Zhang

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About this office
Cite: "The Mountain View / Onexn Architects" 19 Nov 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/951592/the-mountain-view-onexn-architects> ISSN 0719-8884
East facade and Yanhan Mountain at dusk. Image © Chao Zhang

深圳燕晗高地 / 一乘建筑

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