Vector Architects, revitalization of entrance to M Woods in Beijing
Photos: Xia Zhi
In the last two decades, China has gone through a very fast process of urban development. A large number of old buildings, streets, and historic blocks – and even portions of the topography itself – have given way to ‘designer’ urban interventions. It is in this context that in District 798, an art zone of the Chinese capital, the local firm Vector Architects – headed by Gong Dong – has carried out an intervention that gives urban renewal processes a rethinking.
Vector has revitalized the entrance and the facade of an abandoned industrial warehouse that works as an art museum. The objective was to refine the visitor’s experience of the place while improving the museum’s public image. A mesh of galvanized steel wire is attached to the existing building, which preserves the old construction. So the passage of time can be read thrugh the translucent layer, preventing the surroundings from becoming an unknown generic space and keeping the inhabitants from being emotionally detached from the place they inhabit.
The use of wire mesh, besides making project execution doable in 40 days, has the effect of unifying the look of the public space, serving, as it does, as a canopy at the museum’s entrance square, a new playground for children and plaza for the whole district.
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