ICE HOUSE 2006 | Praxis d'Architecture



Site: Wangfujing, Beijing
Time: 2006
Status: Completed
Size: 200 sqm
Project Architect: Di Shaohua
Collaborator: Gang Zhao

This exhibition space was required to share a space with a blues jazz bar already in operation. The jazz bar was in a historical location originally used as ice house (ice storage) during Qing dynasty in the 18th century. It is about 400m east to the east gate of the Forbidden City.

The ice house was built with one meter thick gray brick wall with no windows for the purpose of thermal insulation. But now with different kinds of cladding both inside and outside, the original gray brick wall is invisible. We intended to bring the historical significance of the original material to the consciousness of present activity in the space: to restore, if not its historical or age value, its artistic value at least, through a pictorial representation. Hence gray brick as materiality.

The insertion of the exhibition wall was expected to cause the minimum disruption to the functional use of the jazz bar. A 10-meter-long section of the wall was made into two pivoting pieces to achieve different level of connection between the exhibition area and the bar area. When fully open, the walls are in an angle to receive public flow from main entry. When entirely closed, the exhibition space becomes a separate room.