背景 | Background
The Banpo International Art District was the largest textile industry base of Northwest China which was built by the former Soviet Union during the First Five-Year Plan period. The main buildings of Art District are the site of the first printing and dyeing factory of Northwest China (Tanghua Yiyin), which was built in 1961. After that, the textile area gradually withdrew from the historical stage, but left behind tens of thousands of square meters of high-quality Soviet-style factory buildings. In 2007, some Xi’an artists and art institutions entered and spontaneously formed a small-scale artistic settlement called “Textile City Art District”. In 2012, the strong intervention of capital renamed this area as“Banpo International Art District”. The original continuous large spaces were divided into independent Shops for leasing. The lessees can make any decoration according to their own needs. The atmosphere of secularization and commercialization forced the artists to disappear gradually, replaced by restaurants, wedding photography, advertising companies and other commercial organizations.
▼旧印染车间（来源于网络）the old Printing and Dyeing Workshops
目标 | Objective
In this context, we took over the renovation design of two-span factory buildings in 2015. The owner is an authentic Shaanxi natives of the post-80s generation, who is full of enthusiasm for art and culture. He hoped that this space could become a container of art to disseminate and display Shaanxi culture, meanwhile satisfy some auxiliary functions such as office, reception, research and storage.
▼改造后的厂房兼具了展厅、办公、接待、研究和储藏功能，the renewed factory works as an exhibition hall with the programme of office, reception, research and storage
Faced with unclear mission requirement and exhibition objects, we first determined several principles after analyzing and reserching. Firstly, we should respect the industrial heritage and show its spatial value adequately, which is responsible for history. Secondly, we should respond adequately to the external environment, not only shield the interference of mixed commercial environment on artistic space, but also actively improve the public space through design, which is responsible for present situation. Thirdly, enough freedom should be reserved for the internal space to ensure the flexibility of space adjustment, which is responsible for future.Fourthly, we should have the interest of Chinese garden for this workshop space with a current area of only 256 feet so as to avoid flattening, but extending people’s perceptual experience from sense to body.
▼挑高茶室日景，day view of high tea room
空间 | Space
Based on the above principles, we first used the original structure of the middle section to carry out a moderate “space thickening”, which are similar to a “thick wall” filled with stairs, galleries, toilets, tea rooms and other service functions，to separate and define the two main space areas in the North-South direction, but the two main spaces also ensure the relationship of sight to strengthen the depth of North-South space. In both space areas, separate entrances are reserved to ensure the later selection of circulation. The northern area retained a complete large space for exhibition and activities, visitors can feel the most primitive power here. In the southern area, we created introversive spaces with the movement trend of spiral rise, which composited together by the old brick walls on the west and south, the double bamboo wall on the east and the new concrete walls of pine wood texture.
▼空间在整体上形成视觉关联，the visual connection of the entire space
▼展示空间和楼梯空间，exhibition space and stair
▼入口空间夜景，night view of entrance space
▼一层小茶室，tea room on the first floor
On the one hand, this kind of spatial relationship has the introversive characteristic of Chinese Courtyard: there are many different sizes rooms which are independent and interrelated around the core space, while avoiding the interference from external business atmosphere. On the other hand, the narrative logic of “vertical walls” and “horizontal boards” is adopted in this design, which not only presents the path and feeling of “big in small” in Chinese garden, but also provides the multi-dimensional possibility of vertical space. We called this kind of space as “Vertical Walls Garden”.
▼二层洞口，the holes of second floor
▼从二层看一层小茶室，tea room of first floor is seen from the second floor
▼洞口关系，the relationship of holes
材料 | Materials
▼木纹混凝土是对原有混凝土的致敬，the new wood-grain concrete walls are a tribute to these original materials
In the selection of materials, we fully retained the original concrete structure and the brick walls superimposed at different times, the use of new concrete walls are a tribute to these original materials, Similar materials also can help to keep the overall attributes of spacial feeling, only the texture expression is clearly distinguished. We chose double bamboo walls for the eastern facade of this space which belongs to the public corridor, on the one hand, the natural attributes of bamboo are used to soften the stiffness of external commercial space and produce interesting interface; on the other hand, the gaps between bamboo walls produces a semi-transparent effect to maintain a vague sense of mystery which can be established the self-identity of art space.
▼东立面入口，entrance and east facade
▼东立面竹墙，bamboo wall of east facade
结语 | Summary
The main transformation of this space was completed in 2016, but for many reasons it was once empty and wasted. Until 2019 with a collection of artworks’s coming, we had the chance to re-arranged this art space, and finally presented a small art space which is full of powerful and colorful. It is also because of “small” we had the chance to inject more experience, body and emotion.
▼展品与老砖墙，exhibits with old Brick Wall
▼展品与细节，exhibits and details
层数: 地上三层 建筑规模：360㎡
Project name: Bu Zaifang Art Space
Location: Banpo International Art District, Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China
Design:Wall Architects of XAUAT
Partners in Charge: Wu Rui，Wang Maozhen，Li Shaochong
Project Team: Jiang Shujun，Huang Xiaotong
Design Consultant：Zhong Yuan
Structural Engineer: Baoyulin Construction Service Co., Ltd.
Client: Bu Zaifang Art Gallery
Storey: 3 Floors
Building Area: 360m2
Design Stage: 2015.04-2015.10
Construction Stage: 2019.08
Materials:Concrete; Bamboo; Steel
Photo credits: Wang Jiaqi/QIJIAN.Photos、Xu Youxiao
Google Map ：109.057853, 34.271471