moguang studio has renovated a garment manufacturing factory in beizhuang town in china, into a youth activity center, adding a red circular steel-grid structure as a connection platform. the site is divided into two courtyards, the northern one is featured by a large one-story single-span factory building with a bent structure, which houses the youth camp, multifunctional hall, and restaurant, while the southern one contains small brick buildings with timber trusses and brick-bearing walls to comprise the accommodations. all images courtesy of xi zhi, zhu yumeng, li jiaying
during renovation, moguang studio inserted a series of structures such as a walkway, corridor, small square, and transitional yard. these elements serve to link the activity space with accommodations and to produce continuous, three-dimensional landscape experiences. to encourage children to explore the possibilities of geometric shapes and have fun, the architects applied abstract geometric components to the landscape design.
after the intervention the architects embedded a circular slope and a steel-grid platform into the north courtyard, to build a large entertainment installation. this element connects the camp area and the restaurant’s rooftop terrace on the west and east sides while allowing kids to run and play at different heights. furthermore, the building facades are decorated with geometric color blocks and lines to evoke kids’ imagination.
‘given the site’s atmosphere and textures of building facades, we chose recycled red bricks and concrete bricks as main paving materials, which are complemented by a rubber running track, together producing playful spaces where kids can run and jump freely,’ add the architects.
a series of physical phenomena such as optical transparency, reflection, and refraction was transformed into spatial experiences. the continuous glass surface reflects the surrounding environment, making the structure lighter, and extending the view to other dimensions.
‘in order to enable children to interact with space during their activities, we have taken the landscape staircase as the central stage in the layout of the exhibition items and arranged the steel ramp and the curved staircase along the longitudinal direction of the factory space,’ say the architects.
in the interior, the curved mesh wall and the net across different floors allow children to crawl among the gaps. the combination of workmanship with the mottled texture of the internal surface in the existing building, not only allows the new and old elements to coexist harmoniously without compromising their authenticity, but also creates a new kind of openness in their interplay. meanwhile, the extremely thin steel windows and doors allow maximum light to penetrate the room.
upon entering or leaving the building, people feel the tension between lightness and heaviness from the steel roof and red brick wall. guestrooms in the south district clad in fair-faced brick walls to separate the internal space in order to echo the textures and scales of the existing buildings within the site. from the hostel’s main entrance to the guestroom area, are utilized low walls, courtyards, and vegetation to generate a discrete but continuous path, where privacy and publicness are subtly connected and distinguished.