idea factory is a recent project of MVRDV architecture firm, created in China for the Shenzhen Nanshan District Public Works Bureau and the Development of Shenzhen Vanke. The project consisted of recovering an old industrial building in Nantu, a historic city that has now become an urban village in Shenzhen, surrounded by the city’s towering skyscrapers. The project was carried out in collaboration with the China Vanke Urban Research Institute, VALUE DESIGN and the Shenzhen Bowan Institute of Architectural Design. Instead of the demolition and subsequent reconstruction of the new building, the architects came up with an alternative solution: a reuse project that improves and makes new use of the existing building, with lower carbon emissions than new construction. . A key choice in a perspective of sustainability and which has made it possible to preserve part of the history of the places concerned, in support of the broader program developed by Vanke for Nantou. The village is indeed the subject of a series of renovations involving several internationally renowned architectural firms, with the aim of transforming it into a a center for the promotion of culture and creativity for Shenzhen.

Demonstrating the richness of the possibilities for reusing buildings considered “dilapidated” or at the end of their useful life, the architect MVRDV Winy-Meuse explained that for idea factory project, the first step was to reinforce the existing structure in order to add an additional floor, maximizing the available floor area and thus intensifying the use of the building. At the same time, the building’s original facades were removed, exposing the concrete frame. Reconstructing the new facades so that they are set back from the edge of the building in relation to the structural skeleton, a path of open loggias has been created for each floor that wraps around the building and provides dynamic creative environments used for relaxation and occasional encounters.
The offices of the China Vanke Urban Research Institute and other offices available for rent are spread over the different floors, while the roof terrace is a public garden that offers a variety of services and activities. The access path to the terrace consists of a public staircase that crosses the building from the ground floor. The staircase entrance is enclosed in a wood-clad structure that protrudes from the edge of the building, extending to a small public plaza. Inside, the staircase is clad in mirrors with neon light signs reminiscent of the first phase of Shenzhen’s urbanization. The staircase makes its way through the building to finally reappear on the facade opposite the entrance where there is a belvedere has been created. A rest area that protrudes from the edge of the building on the fourth floor and offers beautiful views of the surrounding urban context. The path resumes inside the building to head to the rooftop garden, where visitors are greeted by a “labyrinth” of activities designed to encourage interaction and inclusion. On the roof terrace, in fact, the space has been furnished and dipped with the help of bamboos that create rooms for different activities: a space for shows and events, a gym, spaces with different types of seats where visitors can rest and relax, a floor dance hall, a dining room and a giant chessboard. The bamboos frame the different spaces, providing natural coolness and shade, while contributing to the biodiversity of the dense urban environment.

(Agnes Bifulco)

Images courtesy of MVRDV Photo by © Xia Zhi

Facts
Project name: Idea Factory
Location: Shenzhen, China
Year: 2021
Client: Public Works Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality, Nanshan District; Shenzhen Vanke Development Ltd.
Size and program: 11,000 m2 of offices

Credits
Architect: MVRDV
Founding partner in charge: Winy Maas
Partner: Wenchian Shi
Design team: Lorenzo Mattozzi, Guang Ruey Tan, Peter Chang, Cai Zheli, Echo Zhai, Pim Bangert, Elien Deceuninck, Daehee Suk, Monika Wiecha, Alberto Menozzi, Alexis Lode, Anamarija Vrzina, Enrica Perrot, Luca Beltrame, Michele Tavola, Hengwei Ji
Visualizations: Antonio Coco, Pavlos Ventouris, Luc Piattelli, Magda Bykowska, Jaroslaw Jeda
MVRDV Asia Director: Steven Smit
Strategy and development: Jammy Zhu
Copyright: MVRDV Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries
The partners:
Project planning and design management: China Vanke Urban Research Institute; VALUE DESIGN
Co-architect: Shenzhen Bowan Architecture Design Institute
Landscape Architect: Yuanye Landscape Design
Lighting designer: GD-Lighting Design
Facade consultant: PAG Local Interior designer: Biaogao Design
Photographs/Video: © Xia Zhi 夏至