Publishing MicroCity by Studio Pei-Zhu
Studio Pei-Zhu needs no introduction, as its chief founder, architect Pei Zhu was part of our Design Judges team for our special June Made in China issue. Apart from giving us his valuable advice, the architect and his business partner Tong Wu have been busy working on a number of commissions in the past few months; among them is the Publishing MicroCity project in North Beijing.
See more images of the Publishing MicroCity
Commissioned by the Beijing Publishing House group, the building’s fully renovated shell has only just been completed, while works on the interior are about to start soon, for an ultimate completion in 2010. The concept behind the Publishing MicroCity’s design was “to give a new life and energy to an existing building, and to start in a way, a regeneration for that rundown area of Beijing”, as the architect explains. The team worked towards fully transforming the existing building, within this otherwise declining area of old 60s buildings and social housing based on the old Soviet Union housing style. Their vision was to give a new and almost public-space feel to the structure.
This approach was also the reason why all the terraces in the building are designed to be accessible, and not only to the media companies and private studios, which are soon to move in. “People can use all the terraces, there will be bookshops, cafes, meeting spaces. We also provide a sort of public linkage. The long staircase, going to the terraces and through to the top of the building, is visible from the street level, to enhance the sense of a public space”, adds Pei Zhu. To achieve transparency in the most effective way, the architects kept all the main original structure’s slabs, columns and elevator hubs, but tore down the exterior wall to re-clad it with perforated metal panels.
As China’s long history with publishing is of undoubtable significance, the Publishing MicroCity project is set to not only to act as a centre for promoting creativity within the industry, but also to attract the wider audience and increase public interest in publishing, ready to support the country’s ongoing tradition while it takes off to the next level.