Shougang Group is the flag bearer of Beijing national industry, however, with the process of urbanization, the city’s overall planning and industrial structure is facing adjustments, and the industrial layout has also changed. It has become a historical necessity for non-capital core functions and excess capacity enterprises to migrate. With such a historical mission, Shougang has made an overall relocation, and the old factory area has also acquired the opportunity for historical transformation. How to awaken the vitality of the city and reshape the spirit of places has become a core social issue that design faces.
Dialectic of “Void and Full”
In the philosophy system of Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi of Taoism, “Yin” and “Yang” mutually reinforce and neutralize each other while depending on each other. In Tao Te Ching of Lao Zi, it writes “To build houses, it is necessary to open doors and windows. Only after there are the void parts like doors, windows and walls can the house realizes its own function.” It illustrates the transformation relationship between “void and full”. In On the Equality of Things of Zhuang Zi, it writes “Does Zhuang Zhou become a butterfly or the contrary? Undoubtedly, there shall be some difference between Zhuang Zhou and the butterfly. This is just about transformation”. It further illustrates the philosophical idea of subject and object reversibility. Abandoned industrial remains of original process just offer infinite possibilities for civil use in future. Transforming ”void” into “full”, it is the enlightenment over the project from Taoism thoughts.
Dialectic of “Old and New”
As a matter of fact, The Museum of Regeneration of Shougang No. 3 Blast Furnace is the first regeneration project of blast furnace and ancillary facilities in China. The design presents the strategy featuring static protection and dynamic regeneration. “Seal up the old”, that is to modestly treat the industrial remains and save the urban unique memory of this land; “Remove the excessive”, that is to prudently remove the unnecessary buildings, open the dialogue corridor between industry and nature; “weave the new”, that is to build public space, embed functions to stimulate the vigor and grow into a brand new part of urban life. This is a powerful catalysis; the static protection transforms into dynamic regeneration. Much potential is aroused from the eliminated traditional industry space due to design intervention. The discarded and obsolete “void” is reborn; diverse “full” of social life stands out vividly.
Transformation between “Void and Full”
In the design, a parking lot is implanted at the bottom of the ancillary cooling pool of the blast furnace. In this way, it solves the general parking difficulty with industry remains. Through the underwater art exhibition hall placed together with it, people may dip into the lake to interpret the hundred year history of Shougang, to interact with the artwork in the exhibition hall, and also to have air dialogue with No.3 blast furnaces standing afar.
The City Plaza at the south part of the blast furnace provides site for various social activities. The Reporting Hall, Temporary Exhibition Hall, The Souvenir and The Public Restaurant which have the most interaction with society among the museum are all separated from the blast furnace itself and arranged along the shoreline independently. Such buildings provide the most possibility of social vigor spreading. The form of earth covered construction also sews up the space between the show pool and No.3 blast furnaces.
A large amount of the original artistic space of the blast furnace is rendered into urban exhibition hall. The four service platforms with different elevation within the furnace awning and the original cast house platform work as the core space experience site, providing shocking industry remains experience. On the other hand, the six service platforms out of the awning furnish sufficient interaction space between human and nature, generating urban activities never appeared in this piece of land. Functions, such as over sky bar, show stage, new products release, science education, social interaction and cultural stage emerge in the air. The high-altitude platform required by the process presents strong multi-dimensional stereo city meaning. Diversified urban behaviors interweave with the original architecture organically through multiple routes. As a result, industrialization eventually transforms into urbanism.
In the stock times of China, correction and change of the attitude towards industrial remains is also the transformation of urban attitude. The urban acupuncture type regeneration of The Museum of Regeneration of Shougang No. 3 Blast Furnace not only propels the vigor regeneration of urban life and entire park in large scope, but also positively responds to the original social issue.
Photography by Chen He
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