The Wall

Architects | atelier mearc

Location | Shanghai

Area | 745 sqm

Project Year | 2021

Architect in Charge | Zhou Wei

Design Team | Zhow Wei, Ye Jiahuan, Wei Tiannan, Wu Xueting, Zhou Yejiong

Engineers | Xu Wenwei (Structure), Wang Xiang (HVAC), Wei Qing (Plumbing), Wang Hui (Electric)

Photographer | Liang Shan

Client | Shanghai Zhongxin Assets Sales Co., Ltd

MEP Design | SHZF Architects

Structural Design | SHZF Architects

Manufacturer | RHEINZINK, KOKUYO, SilentGliss, Element Plus-(Arper)

Awards | 12th YUANYE AWARDS, Interior Design Gold Winner

Huangpu Center is located in the place known as Old West Gate in Shanghai.



oversized reception with Ti-Zn panels | 入口望向钛锌板覆盖的超尺度前台


From the map, it is located at the corner of the junction where Renmin Road meets Zhonghua Road and Mid-Fangbang Road meets West Fangbang Road. Renmin Road and Zhonghua Road enclose Shanghai's old city quarter, while Mid-Fangbang Road leads eastwards to the Chenghuang Temple and westwards to Xintiandi just by about 1 kilometer. Crowds of people passes through here every day.



information area under a battery of pendant lamps | 吊灯矩阵下的问询区


parlor with two sets of black furniture | 两组黑色家具组成接待区

Things changed a lot in 2020 that from outbreaks to ongoing, epidemics become a regular presence in urban life that the change has been everywhere. Architectures that go with people's everyday life are of no exception.



the brake gates on the south end of the reception | 前台南端的闸机出入口

It is a bit hard to find if trying to recognize Huangpu Centre by its building number. Only after walking around the wide green belt that runs diagonally between the building and the street, the glass door that leads to the office lobby could be seen.



enter the west part from the east part | 从东厅进入西厅

There were 4 main entrances in the lobby, 2 at the east and 2 at the west, and people could use all the entrances to enter and exit freely before the epidemics. Due to the need of epidemic prevention and control later, the 2 west entrances are deactivated temporary and the office lobby is divided into 2 parts, east part and west part respectively. Additional brake gates are newly set in the east part to screen visitors, the same as the brake gate between west part and the lift lobby.



casual conversation area formed by high tables on broken line | 折线形高桌组成的交谈区

From complete openness to a certain degree of closure, the environment and atmosphere within the building changes accompanying when starting to accept the change. Therefore, winning the competition of the office lobby renovation became a new topic on ‘how to create publicness under certain degree of closure’.



sight to open lounge | 望向公共办公区


open lounge under the 'walls' | 墙划分下的公共办公区

The first thing you see walking into the east part is an oversized reception whose length is almost the entire distance of the foyer in north-south direction, corresponding to the city streets outside. In this way the building is placed in a somewhat equal position with the city. It is also a key concept implemented in the design of this project: the 'wall'.



from open lounge to the north end of west part | 公共办公区望向西厅北端


path on the west of open lounge | 公共办公区西侧通道

The brake gates are arranged on the south end of the reception while the service staff area lies on the north side. As entering the building, the traffic is diverted to employees in the building and visitors. In the form of a ‘wall’ and built at an urban scale, the reception not only undertakes the function of the east hall, but also expresses the willingness that the building serves the individual.



various forms of furniture in open lounge | 公共办公区多种形式的家具

Enter from the east part and then reach the west part where the real internal area is. More pieces of walls are used to create a smaller space that is quite suitable for people’s daily activities. In this way, the transition between "stipulation" and "choice" is realized.



from café area to office lobby west | 咖啡区望向大堂西厅

The walls are built in overhanging, 3-dimensinally solid and diffuse way so that they could be seen from different directions when standing in such a 10-meter-high lobby, a feeling of ‘fullness’.



sight to 'stair' in open lounge | 西侧通道望向公共办公区台阶


sight to the bar of café area | 西侧通道望向咖啡区吧台

The unconventional scale of the walls forms an ordinary daily space. The functions include quick meetings, flexible exhibitions, public services, casual conversation, café, open lounge, etc. Connected and separated, the new space satisfy both group needs and individual activities from south to north. In addition, the movable furniture provide the most of the public nature of the space.



from entrance of toilet to the bar of café area | 公共卫生间入口望向咖啡区吧台

There are total 11 pieces of walls in all of which are made of steel covered with titanium zinc panels in the lobby. The walls are built up in an architectural way indoor. The scale of these walls is extraordinary, yet they bring a sense of normality. It is this unconventional combination that provide ordinary daily activities in such a small public space, bringing a rare ambiance of peace.



various seats in café area with roller blind down | 卷帘落下时咖啡区多样的座位


sofa in open lounge with roller blind down | 卷帘落下时公共办公区的沙发

The ‘wall’ as a key component of the project that it not only helps to organize movement and structure the whole space and accommodate practical needs such as integrating of plumbing, electrical, heating and ventilation and other equipment pipelines but also endow a serviceable character to talk with the outside environment. Picking the ‘wall’ out of the project, it is both a figurative element and an abstract concept. And the decision of use the term of ‘wall’ was made after times of discussion.



the 'wall' covered with Ti-Zn panels | 钛锌板覆盖的墙体

The Huangpu Centre was completed in 2010. At that time, the interior design of the lobby was based on the form and architectural approach of the external façade, choosing granite as the main material. Meanwhile, the renewal is based on the original interior design by picking up two materials which are grey granite and brushed stainless steel, as well as the important element-‘wall’ corresponding to the modulus of the stone façade. Without lots of changes in material, the immersive experience of being inside such a space with surreal scale is excitingly amazed. 



from outside to café area | 室外望向咖啡区


from outside to open lounge | 室外望向公共办公区

Working in a building with such public character in a certain period of time due to the closure, as each user of the building continues to enjoy and share publicness, new memories of the place are thus growing. 



plan | 平面图


section | 剖面图

Publication | 2022, 《国际设计》no. 3