Chinese studio Atelier Archmixing seeks a balance in the context of rapid development in China. They’ve been in business for about 20 years, seeking “new strengths” against the changing status quo of China’s urban and rural communities. They state:
Nowadays in China, cities and buildings are growing extremely stimulating and overpowering. By contrast, living and sensible spaces are separating into lonely islands. At the same time, the alienation between Chinese architects’ spirits, the public and the whole society are inevitably increasing. We think it necessary to move beyond our narrow area of expertise to a wider range of unlimited boundary by seeking every opportunity and employing strategies with no priori notions, thus to arrive at a creative design which benefits the ordinary people in contemporary China. We are interested by the multiple demands rooted in the complex urban context, as well as the architectural diversity and the hybrid way of organization in design.
Last year the studio renovated a facade in the city of Xuhui. The building occupies a corner spot at the intersection of two historic streets near a commercial center. The firm took advantage of the building’s catbird seating and visibility by adorning the facade with a mixture of gray and luminous bricks. They state on their web site:
With the same scale and similar color, both materials share the same quiet appearance during the day, but when night falls, the new bricks suddenly become shinning. What a dramatic experience! Pedestrians nearby are always deeply attracted. The tectonic details are carefully designed to create a coherent face for this historical building but completely different expression during different time. For Atelier Archmixing, to change materials and tectonics is simply to achieve difference for these everyday commercial buildings.
Since context is so important in this case, photographer Tang Yu did well capturing the building as it stands out against its neighbors. Tang also shows us the building’s transition into nighttime.
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