On ground floor of a 1930’s old house in Shanghai, Atelier tao+c transformed the former residential space into a boutique retail space for SPMA.
It is a typical lane house, the structure is made of load bearing brick walls and timber floor. The layout is restricted by existing walls, with the rooms arranged one after another giving a strong sense of depth. The architects left the existing wooden ceiling and old doors intact, and preserve the brick walls with white lime wash. The renovation is not only about refurbishing the surface, also involves a series of strategy to intervene into the space based on the internal structure and the characteristics of the building itself.
The architects inserted volumes and components made of various new material into the house without touching the existing walls, combining the layers of texture of the old building to expose a narrative between the clothing on sale and the architectural space. In the process of renovating the old house with the new texture, the construction marks and back supports were revealed. Just like the exposed stitching, lining and stitching on clothes, the methods of building repairs and the new insertion are directly displayed. By employing the freestanding volumes to obscure the original room system, three “rooms" of different materials were placed in the central area of the house to form several areas, reorganized the layout and the circulation of the house to meet the retail requirements.
The deep and narrow passage naturally evolved into a twist but planned transit path. The new aluminum framing “room" connects two original rooms, reshaping the route while retaining openness. The dressing room, and display shelf system are integrated into the new wooden room, extending from the inside of the building to the backyard garden, creates a strong contrast with the gloomy rooms in the old building. In the other two independent rooms, the architect Inserted freestanding components. The rough concrete collides connecting with the old brick wall，demonstrate the power and connection logic of architecture. The marble columns with classical temperament echo the original round window in the room. The stone pillars and concrete beams form a T-shaped structure to support the stainless-steel plate and the sunshine board to make a lightweight ceiling. The translucent properties of polypropylene allow light into the corridor.
The backyard and the entrance side corridor are treated as two tiny pavilions installed on the heavy brick building. Revealing the structural attributes of the old building, inserting free standing structures which adapted to the site and introducing a rich layer of texture, brings about a new internal landscape to an old building.