Shanghai building transformed into flowing office with sculptural staircase by ArchUnits

Shanghai building transformed into flowing office with sculptural staircase by ArchUnits

Emerging Chinese architecture firm ArchUnits has unveiled its solution for the complete remodelling of an existing building in Shanghai into a flowing, contemporary workspace, for the company MORE Huashan. The design, which is located a stone’s throw from the city’s iconic Jing’an Temple, enhances the structure’s connection to its surroundings through a reworked volume and strategically placed openings.

Transforming the original building with its cramped cubicles and segregated office areas into a modern, open plan interior fit for communication and sharing was no mean feat; and the project also comes with a striking façade to boot, making this piece of office architecture a new landmark for the area. 

While the existing building was not a listed monument itself, it sits in the historical Shanghai French Concession district, so strict guidelines in terms of the new design’s height, massing and appearance from the street had to be observed. The architects’ response was to take their cues from the original structure – and in particular a large wall surface, the building’s tallest point, which they maintained and used as virtual shorthand for the whole project. Now wrapped in swooping curves and crisp white walls, the building makes for a striking, yet friendly street presence.

A sculptural staircase in the main entrance atrium spans all levels and announces itself from the street side through large glass expanses. At the same time, it helps with air and light circulation inside, through its openness; while adding a level of transparency and an element of orientation for the users, being part-art piece, part-wayfinding tool. §

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