Design Team: Wang Yutong, Zhang Fujun | Yao Yongmei (Technical Director) | Chai Bingjiang, Li Lin, Zhao Ziyu, Zhang Li (Architecture) | Wang Kun, Li Gang, Gao Zixu (Landscape) | Xu Lili, Jiang Zhongyu, Wang Lei (Interior)
Chengfu Road, in front of the South Gate of Tsinghua University, is a 4km long avenue that connects Peking University and University of Science and Technology Bejing. The name of “Chengfu” comes from the former residence of a Qing Dynasty Prince.
The Lanrun Building on the Chengfu Road is facing to the south entrance of Tsinghua University. Originally planned as a shopping mall with a 75m by 90m dimension in plan, this building was indeed used by mixed business patterns. The “Chaoshifa” supermarket at the ground level is a daily visit spot to the community. The upper levels were occupied by some educational institutions. Besides, a youth hostel also took a floor of this building. Under the current Beijing urban planning, Chengfu Road is to be upgraded into a high-tech Silicon Valley. As a state-owned business with an excellent location, the Lanrun Buildling is planned to become a platform hosting internationally competitive high-tech companies.
As a key urban renewal project in Beijing, the government of Haidian District was very serious about the building renovation. This could be read by the change of this project name from “Lanrun Building” to “No.150 Chengfu Road”, which means to highlight the importance of Chengfu Road.
Before URBANUS was invited to this project, more than 10 previous versions by other design firms had failed. The reason was that those schemes only focused on the facade renovation, but did not have any input to upgrade building system. Our approach is to find solutions by precisely identifying problems. The core problem here is how to make this building attract the high-tech company young workers. This couldn’t be solved by a simple facade renovation.
Lacking of underground parking, the courtyard will be fully occupied by the vehicles. In addition, there is no nearby public amenities, and thus the building is very isolated from its context. Our solution is to make the rooftop terrace a gathering area for young people. Based on this idea, the facade design strategy is to show an intent to connect the ground floor lobby to the rooftop garden.
The final solution is a holistic response to all the thinking: red brick curtain wall system is to respond to the Tsinghua building material. The facade expresses the 3D public space after renovation. The four-level height lobby space is a stepping up atrium to connect the stepping down roof terrace.
After figuring out all of the space diagrams, a bigger structural problem appears. Due to the change of the floor slab, the whole structure needs to be recalculated. Furthermore, with the new codes, the entire system needs a big reinforcement work. Moreover, the client asks a huge conference hall on the first floor, and it is inevitable to remove a column to create a double-height space. To achieve this, first, we add a crossing beam to strengthen the point of the missing column. Though only the second floor slab needs to be changed, during the construction, actually the third-floor slab is to be removed firstly in order to reinforce the column down below. Had we had known the complexity of this result, we would not have to do such a structural change.
Besides, some other problems are also unimaginable. For instance, a new road planned on the west side of the building a dozen years ago may not be executed in the future anymore. However, the building still asks for the setback from this scheduled road. The outline of the original building is barely sitting on the setback line. Therefore, it will be very difficult to put another layer of brick on the face of the existing facade. Another example is to reinforce the underground structure by the code requirement. Due to the overlapping piping system with the neighborhood, the contractor has to figure out a smart digging strategy to result this issue.
These challenges help to bring countless achievements in design and construction. To form an inverted cone shape atrium, we removed a column on the north side and removed partial floor slabs from the second to fourth floors. To hold the load from the big overhang slab of the third floor, a suspension column is added from upper floor. In addition, to reinforce the rigidity of two big brick walls at the sunken garden, and to prevent its structural deformation, a steel truss system was introduced after several studies.
The most dramatic moment happened with the brick wall system. Our brick supplier closed down after the quarantine period, which meant the whole technical inspection procedure had to be restarted. Because the typical brick system never reaches this height, the construction method needs to be certified by a laboratory. Fortunately, the client found a more suitable supplier in Yixing with a better product quality. Besides, the complicated brick pattern requires a full-size mock-up to study during the construction, and the hollowed bricks cause waterproofing issues to be resulted on site.
All of the design efforts are to make this building a productive space for the young professionals. As a healing space, the roof garden is all rendered with bricks in line with the facade. Taking an overview of the surrounding buildings in this high-tech area at the roof garden, one will get a completely different feeling from the view on the chaotic ground. Today, facing with fierce international competitions, the Chinese workers deserve to have a better work place.
The time has changed. Now the Lanrun building is renamed as No.150 Chengfu Road.
Location: Haidian District, Beijing
Design Period: 2019-2020
Construction Period: 2019-2021
Site Area: 4755㎡
Building Area: 10448㎡
Client: Beijing Haidian Real Estate Group Co., Ltd
Architecture Design / Interior Design (public space) / Landscape Design: URBANUS
Construction Design: Shanghai United Design Group Co., Ltd. | Liu Xu, Zhang Xiaolong, Mao Yanli (Architecture) Yu Yongzhi (Structure) Tian Kun, Zhang Lichao, Shi Yuhong, Wang Meng (MEP)
Interior Design (office area): Andong Hongfang Architectural Design Consulting (Beijing) Co., Ltd. | Jiang Xiaoyu, ROMER, Lu Yong
Lighting Design: Beijing Yuanzhan Lighting Design Co.,Ltd. | Xu Bing, Liu Xianyu, Liu Yong
Structural Consultant: H&J International, PC
Signage Design: Wuyong Art & Design
Photographer: UK Studio