The Arcade, China by Atelier Zerebecky

To develop a unique aesthetic story and identity for a 1980s office building

Project Specs


感谢 Atelier Zerebecky 对gooood的分享。
Appreciation towards Atelier Zerebecky for providing the following description:


This 2200㎡ commercial podium was built in the 1980s as an addition to a previously constructed residential compound. As with many of Shanghai’s aging buildings of decades past, this podium (and its towers) were clad with white ceramic ‘bathroom’ tiles. The street level was already being rented by a series of bars and restaurants. 2 upper floors of the podium were being used as an internet gaming bar, where young Chinese would play online games into the night.

▼建筑外观,exterior view


▼作为旧住宅区的扩建部分,这座低层建筑被改造为全新的办公空间,as an addition to a previously constructed residential compound, the commercial podium is converted it into a Grade A office space

These upper floors were only accessible by a laneway fire staircase nestled between a ground floor tenant’s grease trap, public toilets and the garbage collection of the residential towers above. Our client saw an opportunity to take this long-neglected space in the heart of Shanghai’s buzzing Jing An district and convert it into Grade A office space.  In addition to gutting and consolidating interior spaces into bright, daylit, flexible office space, the brief also called for the addition a dedicated entry, a feature lobby and modernized restrooms. Finally, the building as a whole was an eyesore, with its stained ceramic tile cladding, collection of obsolete signage, loose wires and a plethora of decommissioned air conditioners hanging from the building’s main façade.

▼室内概览,interior view


In order to respond to this design brief and deliver a marketable building destination appealing to potential tenants, we undertook a comprehensive approach to designing the project’s image. The project’s name and identity is derived from its previous usage as an internet gaming bar, or ‘arcade’. The name “Arcade” was appealing as it has two meanings; firstly as an architectural term referring to a long covered walkway with a row of shops, and secondly as an entertainment venue where people would play video games. It was in this second definition where we found inspiration for developing a unique aesthetic story and identity for the office building – from façade to font.

▼设计中引入了“拱廊”的形式和空间语言,the design introduces “arcade” as the form and the narrative of the space


We began by stripping the façade of its obsolete signage, air-conditioners and conduit. The original ceramic tile cladding was chipped away, leaving the underlying concrete chiseled and imprinted with a trace of the former grout lines. This unique texture became a finish material and a base for a new luminous polycarbonate skin, which we used to wrap over the podium, occasionally revealing the raw texture of the original building structure.

▼透光的聚碳酸酯表皮代替了原来的瓷砖覆面,the original ceramic tile cladding was replaced by a new luminous polycarbonate skin


Inside, we cut out floorplates to create a new 3 storey atrium volume for the new lobby and entrance. We hung a monolithic black metal staircase to connect the 2nd and 3rd floors. A slit detail at intersections in the balustrade allows light to wash over the interior planes of this minimalist form. The new lobby stair hangs under a ceiling of wooden LED pixels that cascades down the wall to meet a new street level entrance. Using motion-activated sensors, the network of pixels responds to movements in the lobby by tracking their movement and extinguishing or changing color directly above the visitor.

▼大堂和入口处置入了全新的3层高中庭空间,a new 3 storey atrium volume for the new lobby and entrance

▼上下层空间关系,spatial relationship between different levels

▼黑色金属楼梯细部,detailed view of the steel staircase

▼木制LED单元构成的天花板系统能够借助传感器来追踪使用者的移动轨迹,the ceiling of wooden LED pixels can respond to movements in the lobby by tracking their movement

▼天花板单元细部,ceiling system detail

▼天花结构轴测图,ceiling axon

▼东立面图,east elevation

▼南立面图,south elevation

SIZE: Façade + 2200m2 interior space
CLIENT: Build Shanghai
LOCATION: 223 Yanping Road, Shanghai
BUDGET: Withheld
STATUS: Completed 2018
DESIGN TEAM: Andrei Zerebecky, Weiwen He, Essen Cai, Milos Stojic, Claudia Colmo
PHOTOGRAPHY: Highlite Images

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