Diamonds from the Rough
Vanke Co., Ltd, City Lights Exhibition Hall
To Project Types
Taihu, China | 9000 SF
With a couple simple design moves, a nondescript retail center on the outskirts of Beijing is transformed into a compelling, new space. Serving the metropolis’s quickly-growing housing market, the City Lights Exhibition Hall hosts a full scale, model unit and lifestyle spaces to give prospective apartment buyers a taste of the sophistication and elegance they can expect from Vanke’s newest residential high-rise.
Hidden below the drab exterior of an existing retail store, the building’s crystalline form was waiting to be discovered. Previously broken up by large, bi-colored glass panels and a dark, metal grid on its front, this renovation stripped the building down to its structure, recladding it in a more subtle combination of transparent and reflective glass, and emphasized its vertical seams to more clearly express the building’s dynamic volume.
This dynamism is amplified by a large stainless steel canopy, which projects 13 feet over the glass walls of the first floor, its wavering surface softly reflecting its surroundings. Married to the water-effect of the canopy’s rippled surface, a script was used to punch a computer-generated pattern of holes through this material, enriching its texture during the day and making it a surface of shimmering light at night.
While unifying the look of the building, the canopy also inspired a dynamically-graded landscape design, which carved out sharply-angled planes and a stepped water feature to echo the building’s movement.