Dreaming of the Future, Remembering the Past

Vanke Co., Ltd, Changchun Community Sports Complex

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Changchun, China | 25,800 SF

Once a neighborhood that residents hesitated to call home, a northern district in Changchun anticipates a brighter future.

Located in an old, industrial corridor, where a powerplant once stood, the Changchun Community Sports Complex is helping residents, old and new, reimagine life in their changing neighborhood.

With 1,800 apartments coming to the surrounding blocks, the sports complex acts as a sales center (offering prospective apartment buyers a preview of those units) while supporting the recreational needs of the community.

Basketball court and climbing wall
Cafe (interior design by JieMian KongJian Interior Design Co. Ltd.)

Consisting of two main spaces, one side of the complex features a colorful, double-height basketball court and rock-climbing wall (encircled by a track above). The second hosts a coffee shop, community space, and fitness room.

Integrated into an elevated, bean-shaped track, a sprawling playground and outdoor exercise equipment extend opportunities for physical activity across the center’s grounds while walking paths connect to the surrounding neighborhood through a dramatically sculpted landscape.

The sawtooth roof provides a dynamic reminder of the past.
The building's warm glow calls to mind its history.

The material and form of the sports complex echo the site’s history. Beginning from a basic rectangle, the design applies three iconic design elements that are extracted from its former use as a powerplant: the sawtooth roof, the smokestack, and power (evoked by light).

While the cascading peaks of the complex’s standing seam roof reproduce the powerplant’s iconic sawtooth roof at full scale, its smokestack is reproduced in miniature as part of the building’s skin. Hugging terracotta panels underneath, perforated metal panels form a series of semicylindrical vertical seams. Lights that are mounted below these reflect off the building and filter back through the panels’ perforations, creating a warm glow that recalls the site’s historical contribution to the city.


The facility's glass entry welcomes visitors while showing the activity within.

AIA Cincinnati, Architecture Honorable Mention Award

Architizer A+ Awards, Special Mention