Can a department store provide a meeting point for the neighborhood while maintaining its shopping activities? Despite being a fairly recent construction, the actual department store has two basic flaws: a lack of character in its façade and public spaces –which we consider indispensable to ensure the success of a commercial building–, and a disorienting organization of the interior commercial area. Thus, the refurbishment scope of the building is focused on three main areas: interior refurbishment, façade renovation, and the restructuration of the outdoor landscape.
Interior Refurbishment Functionally, the food and beverage premises are placed on the first floor, in relation to the outdoor area all along the main façades. On the first floor, they have independent access from the exterior, while all of them are connected to a larger area either on the first or second basement floors.
Aesthetically, the interior refurbishment creates a recognizable tour around the department store: the circulation paths connect a network of four patios, each one associated to a color used on the flooring –red, orange, yellow or green–, to indicate specific access to the building.
Facade Renovation and Outdoor Landscape The current façade is covered in full measure by scattered advertising panels. Moreover, its design does not fulfill the requirements of a modern department store.
Our proposal relies on two aspects: first, to reinforce the image of the main access, located on the Southeast corner, by opening it up to act as a landmark for the whole neighborhood. And second, to divide the façade into two stripes: a clear glass on the first floor dedicated to food and beverage facilities, and a three-dimensional effect area projected over the upper floors. Regarding the upper floors, the original material has been replaced with warm ceramic cladding. The three dimensional effect is achieved by designing the façade in two levels of deepness: the fissures between these two levels shed light on the recessed level planes. Moreover, all the billboards have been removed and replaced by two large LED screens, to better fit the rhythm of the new façade.
The colored tiles of the interior’s flooring spring outdoors, coloring the exterior’s pavement too. The outdoor space has been sorted with new features: food and beverage terraces –one for each indoor premise–, ornamental fountains and landscaped areas. Every new function is associated with a different flooring material to create a patchwork effect. What once was just an oversized sidewalk has become an engaging common space for neighbors of all ages, making the department store a natural extension of the street’s circulation.
This opportunity has allowed us to project a place to meet, play, eat, buy and relax in good company, delivering a new meeting area for this neighborhood in the south of Beijing.