In the eastern suburb memory in chengdu, china. MDO has transformed an old state-run factory into a vivid city hall, maintaining traces and history of the existing building. the design team prioritized a clear transition between old and new, inserting a series of new contrasting elements. dubbed ‘vanke · city growth hall’, the final work has a rather metaphorical language that is spatially imprinted.

The original building founded in 1958, held the hongguang electronic tube factory, which produced once oscilloscopes and kinescopes for the military. the old structure was left to ruin while the other neighboring buildings have become part of a thriving cultural and design hub. as a continuity of the past, the oscilloscope became the design’s starting point, and the ‘burst of energy’ was extracted as the element throughout the project.


As described, this ‘explosion of energy’ was seen as the spatial concept of the ‘big bang of knowledge’. the explosion begins in the center of the old structure, while the energy splits to create new spatial forms, which are mapped to all corners of the old factory, interspersing with the historic walls and column networks. in the explosive proliferation of space, technological materials and lights clash and blend with the old factory building, bringing new sensory impact and dramatic feeling to visitors.

These points are all connected by the central staircase, which serves as the social heart. the design team at MDO sought to communicate the idea of a core where different people and functions can meet. based on this strategy, the staircase employs wide steps, allowing informal meeting and relaxation spaces.

Lining the stairs is a customized ceramic tile will depicting clusters of hibiscus mutabilis found locally in Chengdu which inspired by the poem 'The wet red patches in Chengdu's twilight, are flower branches, heavier but bright'.


The ground floor features a cafe functioning as a public space which blurs the boundary between inside and out. its form is conceived as a layered bamboo box inserted into the grey concrete structure. the layers are folded out to create space for sitting, tables, and serving coffee to the street. along the perimeter takes shape a deep bamboo seat creating a relaxing space inviting passers-by to stop, relax and enjoy a coffee. a large picture window with a sliding glass screen can open up on warmer days, creating a strong visual connection between the city and the interior.

Inside, the grey tones of the existing structure are balanced with new elements, a giant digital screen, vertical column batten lighting, and a suspended lighting array that drew inspiration from the line wave of the oscilloscope.

In an homage to the site history of manufacturing, the bar’s ceiling includes a light installation made up of rows of 160 black and white light cathode-ray televisions.MDO used the entire second floor space as an oscilloscope, and the energy is expressed with golden lines which form fluid volumes, extending to every corner of the space in the form of waves.



Category:Urban Rnewal
Completion Time: July 20, 2021

Design Directors: Justin Bridgland, Jaycee Chui
Main Designers: Danqing Yi, Di Chang
Design Team: Da Gao, Wanyang Song, Luwen Zhang, Mengwen Yu, Huijie Jiao
Soft Decoration: Momo Dong, Zhenyan Yu, Yao Ju
Graphic Design: art/graphics service
Multi-media Design: Silkroad Visual Technology Co., Ltd.
Construction Management: Andy He, Zhiyuan Wang
Photography: Vincent Wu