背景 | BACKGROUND
In the fall of 2015, the 1/3 Kiosk was launched at that year’s UABB (Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture). Themed “Urban Borders”, the main exhibition venue was the Dacheng Flour Mill in Shekou. From the Shekou Port Metro Station, located in the southwest corner of the city, visitors had to walk along the desolate street for about 500 meters to reach the factories where the exhibition was help.
▼2015深双期间的大成面粉厂，the Dacheng Flour Mill during UABB 2015 ©fabersociety
As a significant landmark of Shekou’s industrialization, the Dacheng Factory has an undeniable historical trace, as well as a physical prominence in the eventual transformation of the area. However, the redevelopment master plan for the surrounding Prince Bay peninsula has projected an undeniable sense of temporality. While we did not expect longevity for this structure, there was a certain melancholy in foreseeing its demise even before its birth.
▼2015年大成面粉厂和太子湾 ，the Dacheng Flour Mill facing Prince Bay, 2015 ©fabersociety
设计思路 | STRATEGY
At that time, the Dacheng Factory remained a towering landmark in the region, surrounded by other low industrial structures and soaring to the sky. Finally, with the support of Mr. Li Xinggang, we chose a site of commanding height, the best observation point for the ocean and part of the upcoming massive redevelopment in that area: the roof edge of the mill building.
▼磨机楼顶的三分一宅，the 1/3 Kiosk was built on the roof edge of the mill building ©fabersociety
▼磨机楼屋顶远眺大海和太子湾，overlook to the Prince Bay from the rooftop ©fabersociety
During our first visit to the mill building, we saw how the spectacular holes and scars left by machinery were interspersed through the towering space. This Gordon Matta-Clark type experience further convinced us in the idea of a small house on the roof. The small house would become the incentive and destination for people’s movement: through the repetition of industrial order, a strong sense of spatial uplift and a wide open roof experience, people would be able to reexamine the meaning of ‘habitability’ in this post-industrial city.
▼改造前的磨机楼，the mill building before renovation ©fabersociety
▼1/3和2/3，1/3 and 2/3 ©fabersociety
▼室内和庭院模型，interior and courtyard model ©fabersociety
Within the required 5x5x5m structural frame, we hoped to create three levels of experience: we compressed the “indoor” to 1/3, organizing 2/3 of the outdoor courtyard, and outstretched half of it outside the roof. People pass by the compressed interior, and then suddenly get released to the green courtyard at an urban scale, before finally reaching suspension above the city and gradually expanding the view.
▼三个层次的空间划分，the triple layered spatial division ©fabersociety
Due to a tight budget, a ‘temporary building’ that was capriciously cantilevered in the roof gradually had to face reality. Every action needed to be nimbly communicated with all parties. We felt something not easily achievable was slowly emerging, breaking through the mundane bit by bit. This process seemed to resemble a kind of captivated persistence that at times made us forget about its transience.
▼三分一宅主体各角度立面，facades of the 1/3 Kiosk ©fabersociety
▼向外1/3的悬挑，the cantilevered building ©fabersociety
▼在屋面看三分一宅，view from the roof of the mill building ©fabersociety
施工过程 | CONSTRUCTION
We successively prepared over a year for the construction, while it took only 3 months to complete. The actual process was smoother than expected, and the finishing quality was also ensured. The whole construction can be roughly divided into three stages: Structure assembly, lifting structure to the roof edge and detailing. The main structure and steel frame was built on the ground, and then lifted up onto the rooftop for further construction there. The first two phases were routine, but in the blink of an eye the house was dangling in the air and its sense of substance was lost in definition. This anomalous experience eventually put forward the most dramatic expression of the entire house; silently falling on the edge of the roof, against the sky and the sea, with wind and rain.
▼三分一宅吊装过程gif，fabrication process gif. ©fabersociety
▼施工过程照片，construction photos ©fabersociety
最后呈现 | PRESENTATION
▼“临时”的三分一宅，1/3 Kiosk as a temporary structure ©fabersociety
In the capital of ancient Rome, people built temporary wooden theaters for dramas and festivals that only lasted for weeks. These frames of short-lived emotions only existed in writing, but gradually outlined the subsequent masonry structures known to the world. Jean Goujon and Pierre Lescot designed the oldest public fountain in Paris, which was intended as a temporary installation for the gathering of crowds greeting the arrival of Henry II. We are still unable to define the Kiosk’s true nature, but in the process of expanding boundaries, we departed from architecture and finally hoped to return to its discipline.
▼平面图和剖面图，plan and section ©fabersociety
However, it proves difficult to restore and reproduce its existence through media. Photographer, and our friend, Zhang Chao helped with multiple shooting sessions, and even caught the heaviest snowfall in 20 years. Documentation is a long-lasting process: 1/3 Kiosk is in a particularly light state towards the end, but when people look around, they inevitably feel the weight of time. We very much hold this contrast dear.
▼夜色中的三分一宅，1/3 Kiosk by night ©fabersociety
后续使用 | LIFE CYCLE
Unfortunately, just a few days after the project opened, the roof deck was closed due to “safety considerations”, and it did not re-open until the end of UABB. We had expected it to be a viewing point and destination, but instead remained an object of focus throughout it time. Of course, there are still people who strayed into the mill to check it out; stopping at the steel stairway access to the roof, and in a way our intention was fulfilled to some extent.
▼屋顶平台：内与外的序列过度，the roof deck: the sequence of inside and outside ©fabersociety
We later climbed up the roof many times to visit it, and the mood was very different every time. In late 2016, the Shekou Ferry Terminal facing the small house was completed. If we had known that it would be built as it is now, we would perhaps had reconsidered the choice of location. Due to lack of maintenance, the small house had quickly aged in the years that followed and graffiti appeared on the white facade, which was slightly sad. While the towers across Prince Bay area rapidly grew, the view of the small house was eventually blocked and the once unique vantage point of the kiosk was now no more than a memory. In the unaccompanied years, it alone witnessed the rise of Prince Bay, from the land filling of the water to the demolition of the industrial structured and finally to the erection of the glass towers. In retrospect, it may have received more gazes from outside. This seems to be our most straightforward experience of Shenzhen Speed. But after that, we never visited again.
▼三分一宅和太子湾，1/3 Kiosk and Prince Bay ©文涛
▼太子湾回望三分一宅，looking back to 1/3 Kiosk from Prince Bay ©文涛
▼夕阳中的三分一宅，1/3 Kiosk in the sunset ©fabersociety
At the southern tip of Shenzhen, the kiosk endured harsh heat, pouring seasonal rains and several tropical typhoons, and then suddenly and silently disappeared into the city’s skyline. At that time, the adjacent Warehouse 8 had been demolished, while the mill building and silos still stand. The recent news that the mill will not be dismantled writes a kind finale to the short stay of 1/3 Kiosk, and our physical memory and interaction with the city may reach beyond physicality and geography to be part of a collective memory.
▼2015 – 2020 ©fabersociety