A Skin-Deep Transformation

The Vanke Co., Ltd, Lake West 5 Exhibition Hall

To Project Types

Tianjin, China | 13,000 SF

Sometimes it's what's on the outside that matters.

In the heart of Tianjin’s urban core, a car dealership that used to greet pedestrians with a 220-foot Peugeot blue, corrugated metal wall, now welcomes them to the future of urban development at the Lake West 5 Exhibition Hall.

Its glass bays host prospective apartment buyers, giving them a taste of the design of the residences that are being constructed behind the building.
Building section Section through the plaza and sales hall.

"...the exhibition hall will expand public space while delivering the privacy desired by the development’s future residents."

With a new skin, what was once a closed, blue box is transformed by transparent, glass curtain walls on top of which sit giant blocks of illuminated, translucent glass. The new exterior design segments the building, allowing pedestrians to experience it at a smaller, friendlier scale. A delicate, metal screen acts like a curtain as it curves inward across the middle third of the building, inviting the public into its central lobby.

Delicate metal curtains draw back toward the entrance to invite pedestrians in.

The segmentation of the building and the way it plays with different degrees of visibility anticipate the two phases of the exhibition hall’s life. At present, its glass bays host prospective apartment buyers, giving them a taste of the design of the residences that are being constructed behind the building. In the future, these will host retail, restaurants, a food court, and other public amenities, while the central lobby will act as a foyer that future residents will pass through on their way to apartments beyond. In this way, the exhibition hall will expand public space while delivering the privacy desired by the development’s future residents.

Store front and water feature The design plays with degrees of visibility, opening lines of sight into interior at the ground level while obscuring what’s visible in the channel glass above.

AIA Ohio Architecture Honor Award

AIA Cincinnati Architecture Honor Award