Three old warehouses, originally used to store fabrics, were given new life and a new skin. Archi-Union Architects, based in Shanghai, converted the center warehouse into an outdoor recreational space and lobby to serve the side warehouses which were converted into an exhibition hall and studio space. For the renovation the roof was left intact and the warehouses wrapped on three sides with glass shaded by a cinder block fabric.
The blocks angle according to a parametric program to control the amount of light that enters the building. The amount of light is determined mainly by the needs of the inner program. The resulting effect is of silk blowing in the wind to reference the building’s history. The choice of cinder blocks as a material adds to the historical references in the renovation.
This project shows the possibilities of parametric modeling, by its use in a renovation versus new construction. Parametric modeling can be used to make old, run-down spaces functional and more energy efficient, and it can be used with ordinary, everyday materials like cinder blocks.