Over the past several decades, China has risen to become an industrial superpower; in such, the capital has advanced its architecture by hiring starchitects such as Rem Koolhaas and Zahn Hadid. For a while, many of Beijing’s structures were demolished… making room for modern buildings. However now, there is a movement of nostalgia taking place as many people understand the need to maintain historical buildings through adaptive re-use.
Such is the case with the new Shangri-La Shougang Park in Beijing. Piero Lissoni transformed (courtesy of Architectural Record), “one of China’s cathedrals of socialist labor, the former Shougang Steelworks, into a monument to a consumerist society.” The hotel opened late last year, just in time for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Lissoni & Partners, a Milan-based architecture studio, designed the luxury hotel using a mix of the site’s existing industrial aspects and new additions that (courtesy of Wallpaper), “form ‘a series of interconnected structures’.” The hotel is divided into two parts: the Main Building and the Guest Building.
The Main Building feels grand… the architects took advantage of the building’s 60-foot height. An intricate glass façade wraps around the original concrete walls and steel roof trusses. The use of a transparent material allows the original components to remain visible “in all their utilitarian glory.” The first floor is designed as a large sheltered square that is filled with restaurants and bars. In contrast, the second floor includes the hotel reception and lounge. The lounge is essentially placed within a wooden structure; the architects call this area an “intimate nest.”
Lissoni designed the glass facade, or skin, with low-E glass and operable windows in order to reduce solar loads and allow for natural ventilation. Furthermore, “vertical strips have back-painted glass in front of insulated wall panels, protecting interior spaces from the sun while retaining the look of a fully glazed elevation.”
There is an extension to the Main Building which is intended as a multi-function event space. Within, black ceramic bricks cover the facade; as such, the addition stands out against the glass exterior wall. Finally, industrial elements, large ventilation pipes for example, are exposed as part of the architects’ vision of embracing the building’s history.
An elevated bridge connects the Main Building with the Guestroom Building. The architects brought a softer feel to the bedroom areas to contrast the industrial feel of the Main Building. The new concrete-frame building is home to 283 rooms. The rooms are decorated in an Asian style with minimalist lines and soft tones. Looking outside through floor-to-ceiling windows, guests are privy to the gorgeous views of Shijingshan Hill, Yongding River, and Qunming Lake.
In both sections, the furnishings are customized; they integrate a contemporary style with a nod to Asian culture and tradition. Pubic areas were curated by the architects along with Hong Kong art consultants; the beautiful installations reference the building’s industrial past.
In addition to the numerous potted plants, the design inside Shangri-La Shougang Park hopes to present a feeling of being cooped up indoors. In such an industrialized and populated city such as Beijing, this was a very important part of the project.
About the project, Tania Zaneboni, a partner at Lissoni Casal Ribeiro and the interior design coordinator for the project said, “When designing the buildings, we had a great opportunity to work between architecture, interiors, and landscape—a total environment—creating the sense of being in the middle of gardens, inside and out.” Mission accomplished!