QI CAI LI is a renovation project, which repurposed the former Jing’an China Mall. The project was approached by PLA+Partners under PTA Shanghai, for the client Greenland Group. It's located in the Caojiadu commercial hub, which sits at the intersection of Jing’an, Changning and Putuo districts, enjoys convenient transportation system and bears the name of “Little Shanghai within the City”. The original building had been abandoned for a long time after its completion. Based on a series of surveys and analysis on the original structure, the architects decided to add a full-scale curtain wall system to the existing facade. They respected the relationship between the form and volume of the original building, retained the convex blocks from the 2nd to the 4th floor, and deconstructed the pre-existing facade without destroying the former structure. All innovative ideas were expressed on the newly built exterior.
After outlining the volume relationship that is most worth retaining, the architects employed unified and simple perforated aluminum plates to envelope the whole building, taking into consideration daylighting needs. Besides, the central area of the entrance is surrounded by glass, to create the contrast of the real and the virtual while allowing the building to breathe freely.
Those perforated metal panels on the exterior are divided into 6 types with different horizontal heights. With 6 groups of metal panels meshed, the architects created a unique eye-catching “wave-like” exterior, which shows attracting and varied visually effects both in the day and at night.
They also took account of natural lighting inside the building. Based on the scale and position of the existing windows, the architects added crystallization effects to the windows in virtual design process, and added large perforated panels on positions that require more daylightling. In this way, light penetration into the interior was enhanced, while an extra layer of textures were created on the exterior.
Different from the traditional or even some new types of commercial spaces planned based on the concept which combines business forms with theme activity area, QI CAI LI cannot be defined merely as a “shopping mall”, but rather a comprehensive socializing & leisure space. It integrates the mature community business and the needs of main consumer groups in the neighborhood. This place is more like an experiential space that carries Caojiadu’s characteristics and memories. Everyone can come here for leisure, shopping, entertainment, as well as just to relax, wander and chitchat.
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