The project Studio in Li-long is Interval Architects’ new workspace located in a well-preserved historic residential neighborhood in Hongkou district of Shanghai.
The office space was previously a residential apartment on the 1st floor of a three-story historically-preserved row house. Unlike most Shanghai residences which are usually gated with a high degree of privacy, these row houses have their façade facing both the li-long, which is a very domestic and semi-public alley, and a public street (Jixiang Road) with some light traffic. The façade facing Jixiang Rd. therefore forms a continuous storefront condition.
With this unique urban setting, our main refurbishment strategy is to conceptualize the office space as a buffer zone that mediates between the public and private, the urban and the domestic.
With the intention to create a dialogue with the urban context, we perceive the façade facing the street as shop windows that exhibit the work conditions of an architecture design office. Model-making desks are put in front of the windows and intend to put on display the process of making models and the finished artifacts. This attitude towards the city has generated positive interactions with the residents who pass by the window and start to have a conversation with us on what we are making. On the inside of the “shop windows” a large piece of projection screen was used as curtain and transformed the work space into a space for meeting and discussions when being projected onto.
On the south-facing side where there is a small shared courtyard, our attitude is to promote openness and co-existence with the domestic neighborhood. The wall facing the courtyard was opened up with glass sliding doors and created a visual connection through the li-long. The courtyard has been minimally intervened with replacement of ground materials and simple lighting and encouraged frequent visit of the neighbors who are interested in knowing what we are doing.