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Beijing Tongzhou Rihua Creative Cultural Park
Winner - Silver
Designer: Ellen Lou
Design Type: Architecture; Working Spaces, Commercial Space, Cultural Space, Places Of Worship, Entertainment: Cinemas, Sports, E-Games, Landmarks, Memorials, Parks, Vistas, Plazas, Landscape, Public Architecture, Re-Builds, Re-use & Restoration (Showing Before & After), Sustainable, Green Architecture
Company / Organization / School: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
Team Members: Ellen Lou
The conversion of the Tongzhou Chemical Factory brings new life to an industrial complex once at the center of a working community. The factory opened in 1958, close to the Grand Canal in the east of Beijing, and provided employment for generations of workers. The transition this renovation represents is important, reflecting wider changes in livelihoods and lifestyles as service and creative industries continue to replace manufacturing jobs. Focusing on people, our approach acknowledges the social significance of industrial sites as places key to establishing identity and community. The site is reactivated by a synergy between two multi-scalar programs; a regional creative cultural destination overlaps a local 15-minute neighborhood center to create a unique and vibrant new role for the factory. Central to the design philosophy is a productive tension between old and new; preservation of cultural heritage is met with the dynamism of new forms. A set of distinctive places defined by the industrial characteristics of the site are activated with a contemporary setting of programs. The renovation builds upon the utilitarian layout of the factory to create a new framework for the movement of people and activities, whilst preserving key buildings that offer a sense of history.