The warehouses, built in the 1950s, were once a significant granary of Guangzhou. Located on the west bank of the Pearl River, the site was chosen as the first stage of the city government’s renewal master plan. The project aimed to preserve the industrial past while creating a city-planning exhibition hall and civic center. The goal was to attract investors, developers, and citizens and encourage participation in the rebirth of the old district.
Ann Yu's design approach focused on retaining the original structure and materials of the warehouses as much as possible. The new-built part adopted customized imitated clay bricks. A large-span steel frame and full-slope glass curtain wall system were used to create a connected inner space for a new massive building. The design also incorporated a canopy of glass and steel structure built on the parallel barns, allowing for flexible interior usage.
The project faced numerous challenges, including the overwhelming historical meaning of the architectural conservation field and the complexities of renovation. However, the design team managed to overcome these hurdles, transforming the 19th-century grain warehouse into a commercial urban exhibition center. The design successfully balanced the need for expansion with the preservation of the original building's structural characteristics.
The design also emphasized interaction with the natural environment. The steel structure of the canopy extended on both sides to the ground, forming a corridor that brought in the riverside landscape. This design decision created a coexistence with the original plants on the site and fostered a friendly and cozy ambiance for the interior.
Guangzhou Julong Bay is more than just a renovation project. It is a testament to the power of design in revitalizing old buildings and giving them contemporary significance. It serves as an example of how designers can navigate the complexities of architectural conservation and create something unique and impactful. The project not only preserves a piece of Guangzhou's history but also paves the way for its future.
Project Designers: Ann Yu
Image Credits: Ann Yu
Project Team Members: Ann Yu
Project Name: Guangzhou Julong Bay
Project Client: Ann Yu