Revitalizing History: Vanke City Growth Hall

More Design Office Transforms Old Factory into Vibrant City Hall

More Design Office (MDO) has breathed new life into an old state-run factory in Chengdu, China, transforming it into the vibrant Vanke City Growth Hall. The project, which started in October 2020 and concluded in August 2021, is a testament to the power of urban renewal and the blending of modern design with historical architecture.

The original building, founded in 1958, was once the Hongguang electronic tube factory, a military-grade oscilloscope and kinescope production facility. MDO took inspiration from this history, using the concept of an 'oscilloscope' and a 'burst of energy' as the design's starting point. This 'explosion of energy' was interpreted as the spatial concept of the 'big bang of knowledge', a theme that resonates throughout the project.

The design team prioritized a clear transition between old and new, inserting a series of new contrasting objects that blur the boundaries between architecture and landscape. This approach has resulted in a vibrant mixed-use program that encourages a new social dialogue with the city. The 'explosion' begins in the center of the old structure, with the energy splitting to create new spatial forms that are mapped to all corners of the old factory, interspersing with the historic walls and column networks.

In the explosive proliferation of space, technological materials and lights clash and blend with the old factory building, bringing a new sensory impact and dramatic feeling to visitors. These points are all connected by the central staircase, which serves as the social heart of the structure. Wide steps allow for informal meetings and relaxation spaces, fostering a sense of community and interaction.

One of the unique features of the design is a ground floor cafe that functions as a public space, blurring the boundary between inside and out. The cafe is conceived as a layered bamboo box inserted into the grey concrete structure. The layers are folded out to create space for sitting, tables, and serving coffee to the street. A large picture window with a sliding glass screen can open up on warmer days, creating a strong visual connection between the city and the interior.

In an homage to the site's manufacturing history, the bar’s ceiling includes a light installation made up of rows of 160 black and white light cathode-ray televisions, which refer to the product which was once made on site. This design decision is a testament to MDO's commitment to maintaining historical memory while updating historical objects to suit more uses.

The project's success is evident in its recognition by the prestigious A' Interior Space, Retail and Exhibition Design Award in 2023, where it was awarded Silver. This award is given to top-of-the-line, creative, and professionally remarkable designs that illustrate outstanding expertise and innovation. The Vanke City Growth Hall is indeed a remarkable example of how design can revitalize history and create vibrant, socially engaging spaces.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: More Design Office
Image Credits: All materials on the site belong to More Design Office Co.,Ltd
Project Team Members: Director: Justin Bridgland and Director: Jaycee Chui
Project Name: Vanke City Growth Hall
Project Client: More Design Office

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