背景 | Background
Layered Garden is an office renovation project in Foshan city. The original structure was a hotel constructed in the early 80’s. The building has 7 floors, covered with glazed tiles, and decorated with a Chinese kiosk on the roof. Soon afterwards its construction, the hotel was transformed into a Night club (bath center). The building volume was expanded eastwards to increase more room units, turning the outdoor corridor into a closed one. The balconies were also shut down by glazed glass curtains.
▼项目鸟瞰，aerial view of the project © 黄东华
▼项目外观，external view of the project © 黄东华
▼近景，closer view © 黄东华
立面 | Façade
When we visited the site, the building had already been abandoned for years. The only few things that impressed us were the toothed-shape balconies on the façade. They were no longer visible because of the cover of glazed glass curtains.
▼改造前，photos before renovation © 黄东华
▼穿孔板构造，composition of the perforated panel © 全体建筑
We decided to remove the glass and exposed the structure. These are cantilevered structural plates, preserved well after the removal of the glass curtains. We tried to preserve these structures, and transformed them into the new façade carrying perforated metal panels. These panels were fabricated in curve profiles, all in the same size. Each of the structural plate supports 3 panels. With concave and convex arrangements, they compose the façade in a rhythmic expression. We also decided to demolish the glazed tiles and replaced by simple white paint. All the design moves were trying to create a clear and clean appearance of the building.
▼纯白立面，white facade © 黄东华
▼梯形挑板上承托弧形穿孔板，the cantilevered structural plates support the perforated metal panels © 黄东华
▼正弧/反弧交错拼接成立面，concave and convex arrangements compose the façade © 黄东华
▼透过弧形穿孔板望向室外，view to the outside through the perforated panels in curve profiles © 黄东华
中庭 | Atrium
Apart from the appearances, the renovation took place from bottom up. The qualities of spaces were improved through optimizations on physical environments, such as light, ventilation and circulations. The restrictions for the renovation were also clear: The structure frameworks were difficult to change, and the investments were quite limited.
▼门厅，lobby © 黄东华
The design focused on how to improve the physical environments. The existing space conditions had no longer satisfied the needs of an office space. Considering the building plan is L shape, the inner corner of the L is the most disadvantageous in terms of lighting and ventilation, but suitable for circulations. We shifted the elevators and stairs here, turning the space into an atrium. It works as a light well. More lights can penetrate the building, and more spaces along the street are able to be released.
▼中庭-通高空间，atrium-height space © 黄东华
The atrium has 6-storey height, composed of double height space every two floors. The space takes a double role, both as a vertical core and leisure space. We also demolished the interior walls to invite more lights and air into the building. Through multi-dimensional interventions, the space qualities have been greatly improved.
▼中庭-休憩空间，atrium-leisure space © 黄东华
In the original proposal, we suggested to transform the roof into an observation deck. The space was set as an open, double height, with views toward the nearby river. Unfortunately, the idea was not adopted due to the city regulation and budget cut. the space was divided into office units and leased. The imagination of its publicity can only exist on paper.
▼顶层办公区，office area on the top floor © 黄东华
落地 | Construction
The construction started from late 2019, postponed in the pandemic, and finished in early 2021. As the result reveals, the original design has not been fully executed. The reduction of budget and changing of programs, forced the metal panel in the atrium all been cancelled, and the atrium reduced its size. The resulting quality is regretfully far from our expectation. But there are a few principles been kept: The façade appearance, the space of atrium and the improved of lighting and ventilation qualities, etc.
▼中庭穿孔板幕墙细部，details of perforated panel curtain wall in the atrium © 黄东华
We are getting more aware of the fact that architecture is a balance of aesthetics, engineering, and economics. The realization of a project requires the involvement of multiple dimensions. Architects should take the roles not only as creators, but more as communicators and organizers. To fully achieve design goals, it is crucial for architects to prepare a platform, to welcome stakeholders to have their voices, and let everyone to get involved in the collective visions.
▼轴测图，axon drawing © 全体建筑
▼一层平面图，1F plan © 全体建筑
▼二层平面图，2F plan © 全体建筑
▼三层平面图，3F plan © 全体建筑
▼七层平面图，7F plan © 全体建筑
▼立面图，elevations © 全体建筑
▼剖面图，section © 全体建筑
Project: Layered Garden, Foshan
Program: Office Renovation
Architectural Design: Atelier ALL
Designers in-chief: Congxiao Liu, Xiao Liu
Team: Donghua Huang, Guanzhi Du, Xiaoyu Zhan, Yan Xue
Construction: Constrution team grouped by the client