Westbound Development Group Headquarters locates on the Shanghai WestBund headquarters, adjacent to the Westbound Art Center, looking at Huangpu river on its east. The site is packed with lush trees, such as pomelo and camphor. Heavy wind, rustling trees, and dim light make up the impression of the site.

The existing building was a two-story steel structure built in 2008. The floor area was 2000sqm and the grid’s dimensions were 6X6m. The major entrance was on the west side. The facade was covered by brown aluminum louvers. Dense landscape, vague circulation, and isolated atrium render the interior illegible.

photography by : Qingyan Zhu

Renovation of Shanghai Westbund Headquarters

The past two decades witnessed the dramatic mutation of the building environment and waterfront space on Westbund. The existing condition fails to meet the need of today’s headquarter office. The renovation aims to change the severe and hierarchical image of the state-owned office into a friendly environment encouraging share and communication.

Considering the view of Huangpu River and lush vegetation, the building is imagined as a glasshouse emphasizing its horizontal quality. Terraces stretch out from existing structures towards landscapes in different directions, thus become a massing composed of stacking boxes.

This gesture mediates various factors on the site. First, terraces provide easy access to outdoor space responding to its surroundings. Moreover, the manipulation of volume is an efficient way to enhance form and space while concealing flaws in details. Finally, the floor area is less than 3000sqm to avoid sprinkle system, which is quite limited. The terrace helps to extend the floor from interior to exterior while not adding to the area.

photography by : Qingyan Zhu

Based on the idea of the terrace, evacuation circulations are arranged on the exterior to keep the interior intact and free. The peripheral terrace adds to the flexibility of circulation in this 60m long plan. The twisting and winding stairs enhance formal expression and promenade experience.

The new atrium split the plan into two zones, a conference area on the south and an open plan office on the north. Sunlight sheds into the atrium through the glass on the west, which resembles a high window. Pantry and leisure areas are scattered around the atrium. The interval walls are mostly glass. Daylight and river view penetrate through the small rooms into the open space.

The enclosures of the building are mostly in floor-to-ceiling glass. Considering the limited budget, we didn’t pursue the slender effect of the window frame, but try to conceal these flaws into shadow and other elements. For instance, two canopies on the west emphasize metal material and slender edge, to contrast the cubic massing. They cast shadows and block harsh light from the west.

photography by : Qingyan Zhu

The railings on the terrace have two types. The west facade and stairs are in corrugated perforated aluminum. The south and north are in a 950mm solid wall and 250mm steel rail. The shift of solid and void emphasizes the stacking massing on its corner. They also give a homogeneous veil overlapping the glass facade. The east facade is partially covered by a perforated panel to create rhythm responding to the trees on its east.

photography by : Qingyan Zhu

The project tries to achieve a fluid atmosphere and transparent quality responding to the landscape. The building turns to be a few horizontal lines extends among trees, merging into shadow and wind.

Project Info:
Architects: HCCH Studio
Location : CHINA
Area: 3000 m2
Project Year: 2021
Photographs: Qingyan Zhu
Manufacturers: 江苏恒龙立邦通力
Project Name: Renovation of Shanghai Westbund Headquarters


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