Located in the Blue Peacock area in Gongshu District, the Hangzhou Chemical Fiber Factory renovation project consists of two parts, the Hangshi office building, and a city park. LYCS Architecture completed the planning, architecture, landscape, and interior design.
Gongshu District, located at the southernmost end of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, is a traditional industrial area in Hangzhou, where Hangzhou Steel, Hangzhou Pot, Blue Peacock Chemical Fiber Factory and other industrial enterprises are gathered. The Blue Peacock Chemical Fiber Factory was one of the largest chemical fiber enterprises in China at that time, and its products were exported to 12 countries and regions in Europe and Asia.In the 1990s, Gongshu District was transformed from an industrial area to an urban life function. High-energy consumption and high-emission enterprises in the district were shut down and relocated one after another, and the original site of Blue Peacock Chemical Fiber Factory was gradually deserted. Until 2018, Hangzhou UNIDO Group joined hands with LYCS Architectureto launch a renovation project, and the old factory building ushered in a rebirth.
The five remaining buildings on the site, four factory buildings and one factory dormitory had severely eroded facades, and most doors and windows had been severely damaged. The professional assessment showed most of the foundations meet the reliability requirements of the current national standards and should be retained. The load-bearing structures are slightly lower than the reliability requirements of the current national standards but can meet the criteria after reinforcement and repair. Most enclosure structures are seriously affected by moisture and cannot meet the basic needs of heat preservation, heat insulation, and waterproofing, so they must be demolished and rebuilt.
In the enclosure structure, the gable roof, old bricks, and the wall with the words "Grasp Revolution, Promote Production" are the highly iconic elements of the times. At the beginning of the construction, these preserved elements were carefully stripped from the building intact, maintained, and professionally treated.
The architect used large floor-to-ceiling windows on the facade to meet the demand for interior light quality. The vertical window frames with simple lines and the bronze aluminum panels contrast with the "old as new" walls, embellishing the modern office architecture with a sense of refinement amidst the original ruggedness of the industrial heritage.
New spatial elements were placed into the old buildings to inject new vitality into the old factory buildings. A corridor is inserted between the three old buildings to enhance the functional spaces' coherence and meet modern offices' spatial requirements. The material of the passages is consistent with the window frames, and dark gray aluminum panels are used to harmonize the overall tone of the buildings.
The "little white building" was formerly a dormitory for employees of a chemical fiber factory. As a carrier to connect the site with the city, the design strategy of "old as new" enables the continuity of the urban interface. The design is based on retaining the original frame structure and renovating the facade.
The façade design of the "little white building" respects the column network modulus of the original structure. The method of staggered openings adds flexibility to the building and visually reduces the sense of heaviness caused by the original building scale. The hidden design of the opening window makes the façade simple and proportional, presenting a clean visual effect. The facade met the demand for light and ventilation in the office space while also improving the overall quality of the building.
The interior design is based on the "box in box" approach: separate functional spaces as small boxes are placed within the original building frame structure as a large box. This way, the modern office space is placed in the old factory. The gable roof of the old building is installed back to its original position, and the interior ceiling is reinforced with transparent glass so that the gable roof exists as a "historical relic specimen" in the interior.
The open office area, one of the boxes, has a completely exposed concrete structure that forms a unique interface rhythm with the preserved old red bricks. The other adjacent space is made of a combination of modern materials such as wood veneer and faux copper stainless steel. The strong contrast between old and new materials divides the working and leisure spaces, creating an inter-temporal experience within the same area.