Sucre Boiler Warehouse Renovation, China by CATS

A gift for a small town

Project Specs


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Appreciation towards CATS for providing the following description:


Operated in Wuwei, Gansu Province, the Sucre Coffee Brand is established as a local leader of exquisite lifestyle for years. Discovered by the owner Mr Wu, this boiler warehouse is a very unique spatial framework composite of historic traces and regional characteristics. It is the Sucre team’s strongest intent to make this warehouse a shout out for an ideal life for the citizens in Wuwei, a small northwestern city stayed under the radar. Exploring the potentials of the warehouse, the design of CATS is guided to express such energy of quality space.

Water tower in the background ©田方方


One Building, Dual Identities



The main programs are a contradictory duo: coffee shop and beer bar. One grand, bright, relaxed, the other congested, dark, and noisy. Reacting to these specifics, our main endeavor remains reserving the vigorous character of the internal spaces. In principle, our interventions are gentle, mainly using familiar materials but leading to fresh sensory experiences on various scales.

Due to the limitations of brick structure, we maintained the pattern of the original plan and only inserted a light box into the wall between the coffee shop and bar.

▼从庭院进入咖啡厅,Enter the coffee shop via courtyard ©田方方


This box inserted indicates the existence of another space beyond the coffee hall. The luminous wall on the upper part provides diffused light for the space, rendering the entire space and creating a relaxed coffee atmosphere. Through the hidden door on the luminous wall, one enters the bar in an entirely opposite atmosphere.The luminous wall also provides ambiguous lighting conditions. The programs on the two sides form an organic whole, penetrating time and space.

▼从发光盒体进入酒吧 & 发光墙同时晕染隐蔽酒吧 ©田方方
Enter the hidden bar through light box & Luminous wall also lights up the hidden bar


对位 / 错位
Match / Mismatch


The coffee shop is a grand square with 7 meters overhead. We kept its spatial generosity, and only added small scale platforms on the second and third level. The second level is for double seaters, whilst the third level is for single sofa.

▼悬挂状态下的二、三层,The mezzanines ©CATS




All dimensions are finetuned to the just right limit. For the northwesterners who are used to the vastness of desert and grassland, such spaces generate sensational dislocations. In this grand open hall, guests who come alone can still find the places for intimacy. One experiences multi-scale spatial changes.

At the beginning, we wanted to completely retain the historical traces of the walls, but that turned out to be impossible. The walls didn’t appear well conditioned after several treatments. Finally, only the texture on the beams and columns was retained, as the defining character of the coffee hall. The serving counter is located at the center of the space, matching the geometrical center of beam grid. It is the only spectacle in the room, and provides shortest service circulation from the functional perspective.

The interlaced pendant lights are also the geometrical derivative of the beam and column system. Their overlapping changes along the viewpoints, adding spatial interests to the hall.

▼服务动线最短的中央吧台,Coffee counter at Center ©田方方


A Characteristic Façade for Sucre



▼改造后的立面,Facade view after renovation ©田方方

▼户外庭院,Courtyard ©田方方

Architecture is a re-expression of the local climate and therefore a new geography. We investigated the local climate characteristics to create a more comfortable and energy-saving internal micro-climate.

The climate in northwest China is nothing but extreme. It is very dry and rarely rains. In the winter time, it often goes below -20 degrees, while in summer it is very hot, when sand storm commonly happens. We therefore put forward the idea of reducing the overall window area, and adopting inoperable windows all together, allowing daylight penetrating but blocks extra heat. This also saves energy cost in winter. Window frames are all hidden by newly added insulation. The overall façade is composite of nothing but opaque wall and transparent glass.

interior view in the morning & in the afternoon ©田方方


The application of metallic paint as the outer skin makes the building immediately sculptural, escaping its surrounding environment. Emitting a cool silver luster, this gently monolithic building is a special addition to the chaotic background of the townscape.

▼金属漆立面,Facade in metallic paint ©田方方


The Sucre Boiler Warehouse carries the entrepreneurial dream of Sucre team and its desire to bring a better life to this small town. It is also the first attempt of CATS speaking for cities. The next will be coming soon.

▼首层平面图,Ground floor plan ©CATS

▼二层平面图,Second floor plan ©CATS

项目设计 & 完成年份:2018.9 – 2019.10  
主创及设计团队:陈胜泽,黄文心,陈雪丽,Metta Edwillian  

More: CATS顾问建筑师小组。更多关于:CATS on gooood


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