The building was built in 1990’s, which located in an old community next to Yishan Road Xuhui District, Shanghai. Compare to the surrounding north- south residence, the building has a unique east-west orientation. It is intertwined with these old low-rise neighborhoods and rapidly developing high-rise office buildings nearby, that gives the building a special texture and sense of hierarchy.
The main building is three stories, northern parts is four stories. It has a large private courtyard on the southern side and narrow small-scale courtyards on the western and eastern sides. The building was originally used as a kindergarten and later served as an office. After multiple additions and renovations, the building has multiple levels of roof deck, terraces and balconies, which also complicated the structure system, mixing partial frame structure with partial brick-concrete structure. The overall style of the building is modern and concise, and the east and south side balcony give the building a distinct horizontal texture.
The main goal of renovation is to make minimal changes to maintain its original appearance as possible. At the same time to meet the new functional requirements and give the building some new characters.
Considering the distance to the adjacent residence on east side is approximately seven meters, to ensure the privacy of the apartment, a new wall to enclose the original open corridors. New openings were settled on the added walls to let sunlight, air, and view go into the building. The positions of these openings precisely correspond to each rooms and the sight view. The larger upper part of the vertical chain-shaped openings let more sunlight and air into the rooms; while the smaller lower part of the openings ensure the privacy of the rooms. These continuous vertical chain-shaped windows provide a dynamic element for the community and engage a unique graceful and refined quality to the interior space of the building.
As an outstanding architectural element with strong cultural connotation of old Shanghai western-style houses, balconies and handrails demonstrate a vivid lifestyle and cultural temperament through its artistic forms.
In the project, we continue this tradition handcrafted wrought iron handrails. With vertical chain shaped openings, the entire handrails have two types: The first is a flat curved handrail, with its curved design providing a good view for people to gaze out from the railing; The second is a three-dimensional kangaroo handrail that expands the space outward, providing a seating space for people to rest, thereby showcasing the casual lifestyle of the balcony and interacting with the external environment.
Due to the relatively complex shape of kangaroo handrail, it becomes a big challenge to the final effect. It’s done through three-dimensional design, solid model refinement, and workers setting out construction on site according to the drawings.
At the entrance of the building, a concrete folding system is interspersed with red brick walls to enhance the entrance space and divert the flow of people entering the building.
The building is brushed in white matte paint, emphasizing the origin simple modern style. At the same time, red brick lines are built both at the bottom of the windows and on the top of the walls, which give the building a new character through the use of the red brick strokes.
We image this renovation project is not only about improving and transforming the building itself, but also about the entire community environment. With the advancement of the subsequent "Beautiful Community" project, the quality of living of the entire region will be improved.