Shenzhen Pingshan Sculptural and Creative Art Park Renovation / Atelier XI
Text description provided by the architects. Shenzhen Pingshan Sculptural and Creative Art Park is located in a former industrial district with abandoned factories at the foot of Maluan Mountain in Pingshan District, Shenzhen. Covering an area of 30,000 square meters, this transforming cultural park has since the 2010s become the new home of a number of creative studios and artists specializing in sculpture, painting and calligraphy.
In 2019, the architect was invited by Mr. Liu Xiaodu, director of the Pingshan Art Museum and the Eastern Shenzhen Cultural Development Company, to renovate the public areas of the park. After examining the site, it was clear to them that the park consists of two distinct sets of spatial materiality that speak to complex urban memories and the city’s temporality. The northern part is made up of old factories with relatively large volumes which are mostly coated in white stucco, and decorated with doors and window frames in black metal. While the southern area is built from a series of small red brick houses and brick paved steps hidden in the shade of trees.
Reconnect. Responding to the sharp demarcation between the old factories and the residential buildings respectively scattered on the north and south sides of the main road, the architect proposed to create a main axis of public spaces in the center of the cultural district taking into account the a fairly limited renovation budget. This design intervention seeks to provoke dialogues between buildings of diverse materials and scales through strategic and visual reconnection.
An elongated pavilion made of red brick and black steel spans the entrances of three exhibition halls and forms a continuous public corridor. The original roadside parking area has been redeveloped to the west of the neighborhood, transforming Main Street into a major public space for pedestrian activity. The corridor system also extends from the main street to the back street to guide the public to explore further while providing the necessary escape passages for the former factory spaces. The renovation adopts a low-interference strategy that not only ensures the integrity of the original building structures, but also helps to preserve historical traces as much as possible, such as the vibrant climbing vines and graffiti on the walls.
Regeneration. In the middle of the neighborhood stands an abandoned security guard post that has stood in solitude for many years, and has been suggested to be demolished in earlier reconstruction plans. The architect proposed to preserve and revitalize this fragment of architectural memory. Therefore, a small “art lantern” was created from this aging building: the second floor could be used as a temporary exhibition space and the first floor as a reception center open to the public for the dissemination of information and the sale of drinks.
The existing skeleton of the security guardhouse, namely its walls, doors and window openings, is now preserved and clad in red cement fiberboard. The art space on the second floor is constructed as a free-standing steel structure from the original guardhouse with a 10cm vertical space reserved between the new structure above and the old wall below, allowing the light to be transmitted between the past and the present.
Interior excavations. The renovation of the facade of the main exhibition hall continues the narrative of the interlocking relationship of red and black. It echoes the original sloping gable roof of this factory building and the outline of nearby mountains, forming a geometric hill with an abstract composition. The main exhibition hall has an interior space of 1,000 square meters, but the headroom was only 3 meters under the trusses in its original state, which was clearly insufficient for the needs of the art exhibitions contemporary. Given the tight construction budget, the architect discussed several options with museum curators and contractors. As a result, the original proposal to lift the entire roof of the trusses was modified by digging 1.5 meters for an appropriate ceiling height at minimal cost.
When the pavilion complex was completed in September 2021, it served as the Pingshan sub-venue for the 17th Shenzhen Cultural Expo and hosted more than 20 sculpture artworks by contemporary artists. Many tall pieces have been successfully installed in the lower area inside the exhibition hall. Going forward, the Pingshan Sculptural & Creative Park is set to become an essential part of the cultural and artistic community in Pingshan, Shenzhen, and continue its mission to provide this rapidly industrializing city with an inspiring place for culture and artistic production. .