Enning Road is located in Xiguan , Guangzhou, it has a special meaning for the City, there are various kind of historical attractions in it, so it is one of the most well protected old areas in Guangzhou. And it is famous for “the most beautiful old street in Guangzhou”. However, The area suffered a lot during the urban development, which makes it a complex sample for the changing of old cities in China. This is also the reason why Enning Road is concerned by All Sections of Society.
Back in 2012, before the Asian Games, two of Atelier cnS’s partners participated in the renovation project of Enning Road. The Jinxin Cinema, one of the citizens’ favourite facilities in Xiguan, was dismantled during the urban development. Because the government wanted to improve the public space before the Asian Games, Atelier cnS was invited to designed a community square. Although the construction time was limited, we still did our best to provide citizens with the best achievement. This reconstruction project is also one of our earliest designs in Guangzhou, which make us believe that design is actually a part of our everyday life. Citizens like this project very much after it is open to the public, because it provide new facilities in the old community. However, it was dismantled and turn into a parking lot after 2 years, because of the lack of space in the old community. The project aiming at preserving memory of the site was sadly be forgotten in the end.
▼左：2010年建成的社区广场。右：2015年两位设计师重访项目，此地已变成停车场。/ Left: The community square which was built in 2010. Right: When the two designers visit this site again, it had already been turn into a parking lot.
In 2015, the government of the Yuexue District invited Vanke to renovate Yongqingfang in Enning Road, hoping that this area can be an outstanding sample in Guangzhou. When Atelier cnS was invited to participate in the design, we were full of expectation, but also cautious.
▼永庆坊改造前后对比，contrast of Yongqingfang before and after renovation
When it comes to renovation of the historical site, many people will jump to the conclusion that the old buildings should be protected or renew as they used to be. But the fact is there are both nice historical buildings and temporary buildings which was illegal in Yongqingfang, Many are now vacant for many reasons. Moreover, the opinion of owners are very complicated. Which means that we can not just “restore” all the buildings there. Indeed, some historical streets in Guangzhou were totally restored as they used to be(or they “should be”), but because the condition of these buildings no longer meet people’s need in the modern society, many of the restored buildings are still vacant. There was street without city life. So what we should do is to renew the business modalities of this area, also provide citizens with more interesting spaces to inspire various kind of activities.
We hope that Yongqingfang could better meet people’s need in the modern society and also retain its traditional spirit after the renovation. As a start, we numbered all buildings, and investigate each of them. After the investigation, we classify these buildings into 5 types: restoration, facade redesign, structure strengthen, rebuilding, and new construction. We discuss with the developer and the Renew Department over and over in order to make the final decision.
▼建筑单体处理意见汇总图，evaluation of all buildings
Traditional buildings could only be better used when they are well redesigned according to the new needs. It is an honor to cooperate with the experienced restoration team, who help us a lot in traditional buildings. But we also emphasized that our design for the Yongqingfang is not just the restoration, but also a renovation facing the future.
For instant, the local traditional dwelling type, known as“Bamboo Houses”, has a very limited space between houses, which made both ventilation and lighting situation unsatisfactory, people may feel terrified in such a dark environment. So we made many little courtyards in the buildings in order to solve this problem. Take another example, we take strict controls of the heights of roof and the reconstruction of building facades along the street. When there are conflicts between the public and private spaces, we setback the new facade and leave a little front yard between old and new walls. Which is also a very traditional way in local dwelling types.
▼联合办公空间的共享中庭，shared courtyard in the co-work office
Taking the idea of “micro-renovation” into consideration, what we pursuit was organic renewal. In another word, the whole urban area is like a growing organism, so the renovation should adapt to the current situation rather than following some kind of fashion. Moreover, architects should avoid a “self-important” way, otherwise it would reduce the diversity of the city. As a micro-renovation, we not only need to follow the initial planning, but also need to retain each building’s characteristic. Actually lots of design and managing work needed to be done. but it is still ideal and meaningful.
▼各具特色的单体建筑以及不同的活动空间，distinctive buildings with various public spaces
We also provided special construction proposals to the local residents who are unwilling to move from their old houses during the construction, including structure strengthen and reconstruction. When the renovation is finished, they have more commercial and cultural activities in Yongqingfang. Young people taking selfies, seniors find a better place to perform Guangdong opera, different life style collage and weave together, like the famous local TV series : The life scene in Yongqingfang is vivid and interesting again, this is also what we pursuit at the beginning of the design process.
▼以不同方式改造的建筑形态多样，diverse buildings renovated in different ways
▼改造后街区中丰富而又充满活力的商业空间，vibrant commercial areas after renovation
▼坊中居民的生活，life of people living in Yongqingfang
▼一层平面图，1st floor plan
▼二层平面图，2nd floor plan
▼三层平面图，3rd floor plan
Location: Yongqing Alley, Enning Road, Guangzhou
Proprietor: Vanke, Guangzhou Urban Renewal Department
Design Firm: Atelier cnS，
(Cooperation: Nansha Original Design, Landscape design: Lab D+H)
Design Director: Zhiyuan Zhu
Design Team: Qingwen Pan, Yaying Feng, Rongjuan Wu, Xianming Sang,
Weishi Lai, Xiangying Chen, Hengsi Liang
Construction Team: Guangdong NanxiugujianCompany
Structure Strengthen Method: Brick Wall Grouting + Steel Structure
Scale of Construction:8000 square meters
Design Period:09.2015 – 02.2016
Photographer: Siming Wu, RuiyangTang