RETONG FACTORY BUILDING RENOVATION 2020~2023 | Praxis d'Architecture


  • 16/02/22


Project site: Shunyi, 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

Located next to PRAXiS d’ ARCHITECTURE’s award-winning project Tianyun office complex, Retong factory building has been used as a warehouse for the past 15 years. The structure is large-span steel trusses with a 9m by 20m grid. After renovation, the space will be occupied by small and medium-sized enterprises mainly in bio-medicine research and technology. The major design challenge is, within a very limited construction budget, to yield a minimum 8000 square meter qualitative office area from the existing 9 meter high space covering 4300 square meter gross floor area. The design achieved a good balance among spatial quality, cost control and a rental floor
ratio of 82%.

The design kept the original columns, beams and added photo-voltaic panels on the existing roof. A number of double floor office units are arranged in the periphery to take advantage of natural light and ventilation. The new facade integrates entrances and balconies to form a rhythmic modular of concave and convex volumes. The central area is sky-lit to bring in natural air with an “oxygen tanker” inserted transforming the indoor public space into a miniature urban synergy with streets, a sunken square, an open garden and several tunnel spaces connecting indoor and outdoor. Whether it is a common area or an office unit, the space use is efficient and compact rich in light and air.

The oxygen tanker is a carrier of light and nature. the circular open garden in the center of the tank further introduces light and air into the sunken square. The curved shape of the tanker is outlined through strips of grid mesh combined with LED light belts. The strips of plants and lights go all the way from top to the tanker’s bottom to invigorate streets at daytime, provide lighting at night time and facilitate AC venting for the sunken square.

The central tanker 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 of one color, forming compressed tunnel-like spaces arousing a sense of discovery and anticipation.

To meet the very limited construction budget, major materials used for the interior public areas include terrazzo floor, painted walls for offices, metal railings and meshes, metallic paint for the tanker surfaces, etc.