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North Zone Silk Factory / OLI Architecture PLLC

North Zone Silk Factory / OLI Architecture PLLC

© Shen Zhonghai© Shen Zhonghai© Shen Zhonghai© Shen Zhonghai+ 34

  • Managing Partner : Bing Lin
  • Design Lead : Fabian Servagnat
  • Design Team : Andy Zhuo, Gediminas Simkus, Yan Song, Michel Yin
  • Clients : Wuzhen Tourism Co. Ltd.
  • Collaborators : Dao Chen Architects – Core and Shell Adaptive Reuse renovation
  • City : Jiaxing
  • Country : China
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© Shen Zhonghai
© Shen Zhonghai

Text description provided by the architects. The town of Wuzhen is famous for its traditional architectural heritage. However, before the advent of tourism, it was a quaint country town with some light industry, most notably a silk factory bordering the canal. Chen Xianghong, the developer of Wuzhen, fought the urban planning laws that mandated the removal of the buildings and secured the preservation of the factory as well as the underappreciated memory of its recent past. Built before the modernisation of China, the factory used construction techniques that saved on materials: elaborate concrete trusses carrying a traditional wooden roof frame. Each hall was built successively with its own structural system.

© Shen Zhonghai
© Shen Zhonghai
Plan - Site
Plan - Site
© Shen Zhonghai
© Shen Zhonghai

The economical process also dictated the use of natural lighting, with incremental differences in each building. The ancillary new buildings by DCA extend this vocabulary in a contemporary fashion. The existing structures, adapted as galleries, were cleared of all additions and preserved in their raw state. The existing doors, windows, and skylights create cross views of the interior street, as well as a unique quality of light.

© Shen Zhonghai
© Shen Zhonghai

Our goal was to use these existing features to create an open and interesting relationship with the outside. The spatial character of each hall emerges both from the relationship with the outside and from the craft of its construction. The resulting layer of context creates a network of possible installation strategies, in opposition to the neutral white box of current Chinese exhibition centres.

© Shen Zhonghai
© Shen Zhonghai
© Shen Zhonghai
© Shen Zhonghai

Thus, the original human qualities of the workspace were recovered and preserved with their transformation into a new home for the biennial Wuzhen Art Festival of contemporary art. The lighting design was developed to enhance this placemaking strategy. The exterior lighting underlines the building faces and traces the connecting lines between the halls. The interior lighting is based on a system of suspended channels that weaves through the roof trusses, providing the necessary flexible display lighting that does not impose itself on the architectural qualities of the places. Ai Wei Wei, Maya Lin, Studio Job, Florentin Hoffman, and Richard Deacon were among the thirty various international artists that displayed in the inaugural Art Festival.

© Shen Zhonghai
© Shen Zhonghai

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Project location

Address:Wuzhen, Tongxiang, Jiaxing, Zhejiang, China

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "North Zone Silk Factory / OLI Architecture PLLC" 11 May 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/961439/north-zone-silk-factory-oli-architecture-pllc> ISSN 0719-8884

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