RETONG FACTORY BUILDING RENOVATION 2020~2023

Project site: Shunyi airport tax-free zone, Beijing
Time of design: 2020-2021
To be completed: 2023
Project scale: 8430㎡
Project client: Gold Concord Group
Design team: Di Shaohua, Cui Ying, Yang Jialin, Xu Xinxin, Zhu Haichao, Fan Jingyi, Ma Chenkun

The existing Retong factory building was built 15 years ago. The space has been used mainly as a warehouse with a net height of 9 meters. The structure used large-span steel trusses with steel plate wall system. After the renovation, the users will mainly be small and medium-sized enterprises in bio-medicine technological research and development.

The renovation retained the original beams, roof and north wall. The design made full use of the natural light and ventilation in the periphery space to create a number of two storey office units. The exterior adopts a curtain wall system, combined with the entrances and the balconies, to form a rhythmic façade modular of concave and convex arcs. The central area of the interior opens the skylight from the top to bring in natural light and ventilation, while the central area is inserted with an “oxygen tank”, forming a miniature urban street and sunken square inside the building. Whether it is a common area or an office unit, the space use is efficient and compact rich in light and air.

The oxygen tank is a carrier of light and nature. The curved surface of the tank volume and the circular atrium in the center of the tank introduce energy of nature into the sky-lit inner street and the sunken square. Instead of through load baring structure, the tank shape is encircled and emphasized through curved grid mesh and strips of LED light goes all the way to the bottom. During the day, the grid mesh with climbing plant brings green into the inner sky-lit street; at night, the light strips outline the curved tank volume, continuing light from daytime. Grid mesh and strips of light further becomes top of the sunken square, providing artificial auxiliary lighting and AC vents.

The “Oxygen tank” central space is surrounded by five auxiliary halls which function as entrance halls and passages for evacuation. The naming of colors in ancient Chinese language reflects ancient Chinese’ love and understanding of nature, in which colors and their names are abstractions of nature. The halls were given the color names – Ai Qing, Yue Bai, Teng Huang, Tan Hong, and Shui Lu. Except for the main entrance in the south that prioritizes transparency through glass, the rest of the halls are enclosed mostly with solid walls, ceilings and floors of one of the colors, forming compressed tunnel-like spaces  arousing a sense of discovery and anticipation.