Located next to PRAXiS d’ ARCHITECTURE’s completed 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 8,000 sq m qualitative office area from the existing 9m high space covering 4,300 sq m gross floor area. The design achieved a good balance among spatial quality, cost control and a high rental floor ratio of 82%.
The design kept the original columns, beams and added photovoltaic 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 tank” 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.
The curved shape of the “tank” 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 “tank” bottom to invigorate streets at daytime, provide lighting at night time and facilitate AC venting for the sunken square.
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