Mawei Shipbuilding Library

In today's context, the image of a city needs more memory and culture. As one of the most important cities in modern China, Fuzhou and its memory and culture are more related with "shipbuilding" history in Mawei district.

Now, the project Mawei Shipbuilding Library becomes the starting point and physical space of shippbuilding culture in this city. This space is designed to serve not only as a library for reading but also as a mental space for cultural display and expression.

Leo Hu

Founder and Design Director of WJ Studio

Since ancient times, Fuzhou has been the land of Minyue people. it is also known for shipbuilding and shipping and the birthplace of Chinese shippbuilding culture.

Now, located at the former site of the naval school, the library is equipped with "ship cabin and reading space", echoing the spirit of "building ships and educating talents at the same time" from more than 100 years ago. The designer tries to use a new metaphor to inherit and express its local culture and integrate the spirit into people's daily lives.

The structure of the library, situated in the Shipbuilding Culture Theme Park in Mawei District, was originally built as the warehouse of a shipyard. As a hub of the local cultural activities, the library has multiple functions such as promoting cultural awareness of shipbuilding, education, and academic research on shipping culture, etc.

The design uses "ship" as an element, and turns the whole library into an ark sailing in the wave of culture.

Borrowing the layout of a traditional ship, the library has a diverse combination of spaces. The bow (front end), mid-ship (middle section) and stern(rear end) turns into different interior spaces, while the open deck, semi-open cabin and other parts are also redesigned in a contemporary manner.

The library has been reconstructed from the original one-storey space to a two-storey space with a mezzanine floor, connected by a huge staircase from the bow area.

The first floor is used as a reading and display space (mainly books), which seems to invite people into a room of knowledge and culture.

The second floor is designed as a deck for leisure and events, which seems to lead people to board on a ship's bow, and then they are allowed to stay or ponder in this open area.

The big steps between the two floors not only serve as a connecting passage, but also turn the bow area into a stepped space, enriching the use of the interior.

The atrium in the middle is the center of the entire library.

Here the designer creates a mental space for people to immerse themselves like in a ship's cabin.

Movable bookshelves under the atrium make sure a flexible space is provided, which creates a multi-functional library for reading and display and other purposes.

And above the atrium, a huge keel structure hangs high from the ceiling, reminding people of the history of the shipyard. The black mirror-like material reflects everything like the surface of the water, as if time travels from the past and rests in this space.

A different kind of cabin is presented in the stern area.

This round-shaped reading room echoes the enclosed cabin of a ship, and thus is designed to be a quieter and more private reading space in the library.

In addition to the abstract expression of a ship's space, the designer also uses the shipbuilding parts as decorative elements, enhancing the image of a ship with many details.

For example, the railing, steel ladder and cargo box are re-interpreted in a modern fashion. The new design language and new material are mixed and matched with the old space and structural form in contrast.

The combination of the new and the old indicates the time span of the cultural contents of the library, and this design spreads the spirit of shipbuilding culture into each and every corner of the space.

Cangshan Cinema

“To re-vitalize the old building is not only change or renew the shape in design. For  Cangshan Cinema, the key point of restoration is to bring new function to life inside its original architectural space.

Leo Hu

Founder and Design Director of WJ Studio

Renovated by Wanjing Studio, Cangshan Cinema near Yantai Mountain park, is an excellent case of upgrading one of the historical sites on the central axis of ancient cultural heritage in Fuzhou city.

The half-century-old Cangshan Cinema is the former Dutch Consulate in Cangshan district, which is located at the junction of Meiwu Road and Lequn Road, where histories from the East and the West mix and mingle. With the access of Metro Line 1, the site has a unique advantage of being transformed into a cultural space.

According to the requirements of the project, Cangshan Cinema will be positioned as a space of art and cultural exchanges and aesthetic events with three major functions: exhibition, performance and culture-related activities. The buildings(main building and ancillary buildings included) exceeds 2,000 sqm.

With this kind of non-standard space full of its own cultural significance, the design team finds that the difficulty lies in how to utilize the original building structure to serve the new functions.

During the site inspection period before the renovation, the designer divides the two buildings of Cangshan Cinema into 2 parts: the main building as the a complex space that can hold art exhibitions, live performances and cafes; the ancillary building, close to the side of the square, as a commercial space for services such as restaurant and gift shop.

The design team hopes to minimize the visual interruption of the main building on the ancillary building, while leaving enough space in the ancillary building to accommodate commercial purposes in the future.

For this reason, the designer first raises the ancillary building and then uses stainless steel and mirrored materials to cover the façade, trying to reduce the visual and spatial contrast between the two buildings. In addition, the typical brick arch form of the old buildings in this district remains unchanged in order to carry on the cultural memory of the local people on one hand, and to create an open sightline with the arc-shaped windows for the catering business like restaurants in the future on the other hand.

In terms of the interior renovation, the designer tries to keep the first and second floor as simple as possible and provide a free stage with multiple functions such exhibition, performance and café, etc.

Many details are carefully considered, for example a mirrored stainless-steel installation is set on the first floor's entrance which visually extends the space. The lights throughout the space are designed to decorate the wooden beams of this old building and thus add layers and mixture to the whole space. The stands on the second and third floor are divided by a curtain wall to create a free space for leisure activities, which allows natural light in and the public to the access of exhibitions and performances on the first floor.

The Cangshan Cinema after renovation will serve not only as a multi-functional space for exhibitions and performances, but also it will function as an incubator for cultural and artistic activities in Fuzhou. As an important showcase building with cultural significance in this community, Cangshan Cinema will use its space as a hub to embrace art exhibitions, performances, artistic and gift shops, a small-sized mobile theatre and other diverse events and activities, and to connect local events and trends in Fuzhou city, which will definitely provide opportunities for a city to become the one of creativity  and innovation.


Liangzhu Center Of Arts

Liangzhu Cultural Village is already a model of Hangzhou cultural village life. In this area, people of different ages and occupations can find their own living and cultural activity. The Big Roof, is one of the special space in Liangzhu. Ando's design mark makes this building have another spiritual demand.

The space of the original building is generally divided into exhibition space, Xiaofeng Bookstore, and coffee shop. In such a well-known and deeply loved space, "redesign" has become an interesting and difficult project. The design should not only restrain the impulse of intervention, but also show the understanding and innovation of the original space.

The "Small Roof" in The Big Roof, is a project which is from the design form to the scene form, from the interior space to the outdoor space. Designers do not want to give it more extra symbols. It should be more of a market, a state of life, a multi-dimensional way of expression.

Therefore, we hope the design to be put in, not to be transformed, but should be more connection with people and events will happen in future.

Design only solves a form problem here, but life is presented by people here. Design integrates people's needs for cultural life, so that it can become a complete whole.

The whole education building presents a rectangular block. In the limited space, the design completely opens the original abandoned closed space and introduces the northern landscape that has never been noticed. The third high-rise box facing the waterscape and cherry blossom is renewed to become the learning space of the community.

Open the East and West sides of the second floor, and use the green windows at both ends to drain the sight; increase enough commercial light, restore the original trough gypsum board ceiling, restore and reconstruct the relationship between indoor and outdoor space. In the main space at the entrance, the design method of placement is used as the main form to guide the spatial relationship of the whole format.

Seeing that the merchants carefully dressed up and decorated their own space, they spent a lot of effort to create drywall to create a harmonious overall environment. The commodity display was also carefully selected by the manager of The Big Roof, becoming the most attractive protagonist in this space.

The designer team went into the factory to ensure the final high-quality completion.

With the small space renewal, the design team and The Big Roof team rely on each other's efforts and persistence to create a village co-life. At the same time, the magazine project in mind is opened together with the new education building, which makes villagers feel the joy of "wasting time on beautiful things". The most valuable reward for a designer is this.

We envisioned a whole new way of life, a whole new possibility. Finally, here, we can limit more beautiful moments.

Tong Shang Ji

Hangzhou is a traditional city in the southeast of China, where we can peak its cultural features from its traditional architecture in history. If you want to see the most representative building complex, it must be in the historical blocks along Zhonghe Road.

Our object today is located in the Datong Lane where is a historical building block near Zhonghe road in Hangzhou. This is a typical alley residential building, which was built in the period of the Republic of China. In this area, residences mostly live behind or above from shops.

In this environment, we need to pay more attention to the protection of the building itself, as well as the extremely rare building structure. Particularly, this is a matter to keep consistent with the surroundings.

Tong Shang Ji, founded by our owner, aims to enlighten children's "judgment, understanding, cognition, feeling and feeling" of things by using a new "experiential teaching" method for more parents and children.

After having a conversation with the owners and a visit severally, we put forward the design concept. In terms of materials, we use soft and comfortable natural materials; in terms of space design, we mainly focus on large open space without partition, to create a natural, interesting and infinite fantasy learning space.

However, how to keep consistent with the surroundings of Da Tong Lane, and how to the principle of the owner in new experiential culture teaching, have become the initial question of this case.

Due to the close distance between the historic block of Da Tong Lane and the viaduct, the erosion of the urban construction to the old buildings is too serious. Therefore, we need a grid design to protect a parent-child activity space from urban noise. A space is only with natural and joyful childhood.

The design of wooden grating is consistent with the simple traditional architecture around Da Tong Lane, which is the inheritance and innovation of tradition.

Looking out of the window on a sunny day, the passers-by and the white wall are close to each other. Time is slowing down here.

We put origami, log, nature and light into the whole space. These elements belong to children's imagination space. The use of wood color in the space also makes children closer to nature.

A core barrel is inserted in the original position of the patio. The core transparency also makes a connection and interaction between the two floors above. On a sunny day, the natural light goes indoors. At the same time, the children also have an entertainment area. Particularly important to modern education, is to offer more time to children to know nature. This design also meets the needs of Tong Shang Ji as an educational space.

In the original structure, the second floor has higher height, which limits the activity space. Therefore, the owner hope that we can integrate education activity space, parent-child accommodation and children activity area into this space.

We added lofts to the original structure. In this area, we create a home stay for parents and children, so that children can have a space to rest together and more like home while experiencing.

The addition of the skylight in the attic is more interesting and also meets the lighting needs of the old house.

In this space, children can experience hand work, enjoy undisturbed parent-child time with their parents and enjoy unimpeded activity space. Such freedom is the best enlightenment for the young generation.