The office of MONOARCHI is located in the first floor of a three story villa. The area is about 100 square meters. The whole building was first owned by a family, but the property rights were split for historical reasons, and a 30 – square meter independent yard was shared by all residents. To respect of the old house, we decided not to make any damage or change to the structure and layout when we first came to the house to retain the existing sense of history as far as possible.
▼办公室的玻璃入口，the revolving glass entrance ©邱日培
We need to create a work space for 8 people as well as an exhibition space inside the small house. The first step is to remove the existing residential functions to make the space simpler; the second step is to hybridize functions: we inserted an exhibition space in the middle of the main workspace to satisfy the needs of curating small exhibitions from time to time. The corridor to the conference room is enlarged as a critique area; the conference room is combined with a tiny library; the partition wall between the toilet and shower is opened, and the space was converted into a model workshop, a material room and a printing room. These three spaces are connected to the kitchen, the bar table of the model room and the kitchen are at the same height so the two functions can be shifted.
▼主要办公空间，main office area ©邱日培
▼展台与办公区中轴线，the axis of the exhibition table and the main office area ©邱日培
▼办公桌面，working place ©邱日培
We use arches to form the interior space of the office, which is a tribute to the most distinctive arch corridors and arch doors in the Former French Concession in Shanghai. The arches of different scales define different spaces, the working space with the big arch, the conference room of the semi vaulted arch ceiling, and the small arcades between different functional spaces, such as the critique gallery and other two arcades. On the other hand, the arches also somehow protected the original structure; moreover, the form of the arches ingeniously exploited the space above the head, where more storage space and multi-purpose space are developed.
▼拱形对原有建筑格局进行了包裹和保护，the arches of different scales define different spaces ©邱日培
▼会议室书架与通往模型间的拱门，the arched door between the meeting room and the model room ©邱日培
▼会议室，meeting room ©宋肖澹
In the selection of materials, we focus on the ability of materials to create space and functions. The plasticity of black screw steel draws the shape of the arch, and the combination of steel and magnets enables the whole space as exhibition space; the entrance of the office, the critique corridor and the other corridors are made of concrete, which deliver a sense of ritual which we love; The service space is hidden behind the critique gallery, and the sound-proofing concrete makes the office more quiet. The precision and weak reflection of the drawing stainless steel ensured the structural details, and also extended the arches in a certain kind of form.
▼拱廊评图空间，critique archway ©宋肖澹
▼室内细部，interior view ©邱日培
▼通往模型间的拱门，the arched door to the model room ©邱日培
▼拱门细部，arched door detail ©宋肖澹
设计重点 | Key features
Protection of historical buildings
Shanghai has only 150 years of history as a city, those old buildings of about 80 years are extremely precious to the city. However, too many old houses have been demolished by the landlord for the purpose of creating more rent and economic benefits. As architects, we have the ability to save these old houses of beautiful stories through our own designs and to create more comfortable sharing space. Our responsibility to choose this old house is to defend its past and enrich its story.
▼改造前的建筑，structure before renovation ©孙凡
A yard of 30 square meters was very much abandoned before we moved in; we use a black metal mesh to lay a platform. Limited landing and grid space allow the growth of the plant; the neighbors are thus attracted step down to share this peaceful corner with us.
▼前院的黑色金属网格平台，the metal platform in the front yard ©邱日培
The solution to the contradictions between spaces
To imbed an office space into a residential neighborhood, the key is to make sure the living and the working can co-exist in harmonious interaction. We tried not to disturb the residents upstairs when designing the circulation of the office. At the same time, the metal mesh terrace preserves the original ecological system of the courtyard while becoming a communal space for our neighbors. The frosted glass of the entrance door not only blurred the view between the exterior and the interior, it also blocked the interference from the neighbors.
▼雕刻玻璃模糊了室内外的视线，the frosted glass of the entrance door not only blurred the view between the exterior and the interior ©邱日培
Explorations on the potential of materials in small spaces
A leg free desk, floating tabletop of brushed stainless steel, arch-shaped steel bar…these repeated exploration of the building materials is based on the utilization of small spaces, which avoid turning building materials into interior decorations. Our intension is to create functions and spaces with the physical characteristics of materials, for example, the reinforcing steel bar does not only outline the form of arch, it also created spaces for storage and exhibition. Eventually this space is not only our office, but also an experiment on our design philosophy and principles.
▼办公区与展台，the main office area and the exhibition table ©宋肖澹
▼拱门轴线，the axis of the arched door ©宋肖澹
设计时间：2017.12 – 2018.02
Project: MONOARCHI Shanghai Office
Design Period: Dec, 2017 – Feb, 2018
Completion: May, 2018
Architect’s firm: MONOARCHI
Lead architects: Xiaochao Song, Keming Wang
Construction Company：Shanghai Tianci Architecture & Decoration Construction Co. Ltd.
Photographer: Ripei Qiu, Xiaodan Song, Fan Sun