china-based office for urban renewal has turned an old school into ‘wuhan creative design center’. the site was originally a dormitory of wuhan iron and steel corporation (WISCO), built 70 years ago. this renovation project involves ‘no.3 primary school’ located on the central axis of the large community.

wuhan creative design center 3

images by liu anqi

office for urban renewal retained the existing teaching buildings but demolished the playground and other buildings to expose the historical façade on the south side. the north elevation retains its original appearance as much as possible and shows traces of various historical periods. this includes red bricks from the 1950s, washed stone from the 70s, ceramic tiles from the 90s, and contemporary steel mesh. the steel mesh not only adds a layer of ‘new clothes’ to the building but also lets people see the historical façade that’s behind it.

wuhan creative design center 4

the most characteristic part of the project is what the architects call the ‘honggang crown’, which is the red roof platform that visually links the yangtze river to the north with nearby honggang city to the south. this bold architectural element follows the concept of ‘structure is decorative’ while paying tribute to honggang, which is known as the ‘red steel city’. it also relates to the wuhan yangtze river bridge built by WISCO.

wuhan creative design center 1

office for urban renewal also took care of the landscape design, or what they call the ‘honggang hill’. the landscaping was designed to connect with the city’s core facilities on the south side while preserving the main entrance as well.

wuhan creative design center 5

the entrance to wuhan creative design center ascends then descends over a landscape of red tiles combined with luminous lighting. named ‘yesterday’s eaves’ this aspect of the design aims to evoke memories of childhood games. 

wuhan creative design center 6

the main entrance of the building was redesigned with red brick. on the one hand, old materials were used to show the warmth of history; on the other hand, a variety of new tiling techniques were tried to express contemporary design concepts. many innovative architectural structures are hidden in jagged tiles and arc-shaped rain sheilds.

wuhan creative design center 7

the overall interior design attempts to retain the original spatial scale as much as possible. to achieve this, extremely high requirements were placed on the electromechanical design.

wuhan creative design center 8

the finished interiors explore a dialogue between the ruggedness of steel and iron and the exquisiteness of fashion. a spiral staircase wrapped in red steel plates serves as the main protagonist, relating back to the red roof platform and the site’s industrial history.

wuhan creative design center 9

wuhan creative design center 11

wuhan creative design center 10

wuhan creative design center 12

wuhan creative design center 2

project info:

name: wuhan creative design center

location: wuhan, hubei province, china

program: mixed-use

client: OCT wuhan

client team: chu yunhong, dai hongquan, yang xu, he xin, zhu zehua, chen hua, sun hong, lu fei

architectural design: office for urban renewal

lead architects: ling yingsong

design team: ling yingsong, wang kexiang, gao yibin, huang rui, huang longchen

landscaping design: office for urban renewal

interior design: office for urban renewal

area: 4,703 sqm (50,622 sqft)

cost: $8 million USD

year: 2021

photography: liu anqi

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

edited by: lynne myers | designboom