Nanxiaoying Heating Plant Renovation / Origin Architect
Text description provided by the architects. Origin. Against the background of increasingly stringent environmental governance, coal-fired factories in many urban centers in China cannot avoid the fate of declining. The Beijing Nanxiaoying Heating Plant, built in the late 1980s, was shut down ten years ago. The once-hot regional energy center has become a desolate place that is incompatible with surrounding residential areas. The factory area is ruined, and memories have been blurred. Now it is facing a new opportunity, which will be transformed into an open urban block integrating office, commerce, culture, and sports – YueJieJinhui Park. Origin Architect hopes to use this external intervention to reveal the internal characteristics of the site that have been concealed and suppressed, allowing the abandoned heating plant to regain its individuality, dignity, and strength; While injecting new vitality into the future, building a gaze, connection, and journey back to the passing time, where the past and future overlap and the extinguished fire reignited again.
Opening the pupils. The main buildings in the factory area, such as the boiler house, coal depot, and induced draft fan room, were originally used to accommodate equipment and fuel. The space is tall, enclosed, and dark, like a sleeping behemoth without eyes. Based on the structural characteristics of the original masonry exterior wall, more than 400 circular holes have been carefully excavated to achieve a balance between maximum permeability and minimum masonry safety disturbance. Sunlight and air rush into the interior of the building, dissipating the darkness and leaving a unique light and shadow. The pupil-like openings reshape the shape of the scenery outside every window, attracting the gaze and dialogue of time in the indoor office environment facing the magnificent industrial relics outside. The sequence of circular holes is different from the original few square windows, giving the park a new brand. Origin Architect adopts different specifications of large circular windows, small light holes, and circular air vents corresponding to different functions, and also customizes special opening details and methods to ensure smooth and sufficient ventilation and smoke exhaust.
Release Totem. Compared with the renovation method of excessively finely beautifying history, Origin Architect reveres the rough soul traits of industrial relics themselves more. Towards the main entrance of the park, the outer walls on both sides of the boiler house are cut, and the sunlight washes through the huge suspended coal hopper, spilling into the atrium, with visual connectivity through the front and back. A total of 4 groups of 12 stone-dedusting towers covered behind the building were cleaned out from the garbage and exposed in the center of the courtyard facing the incision. The array of silent stone towers stands on the empty gravel ground with a highly recognizable and wild posture, like a mysterious and astonishing industrial totem. The boiler base in the messy partition wall of the boiler house has been stripped of coating, reinforced, and cleaned, and rows of mottled and rough concrete columns are exposed in the empty hall on the first floor. The towers, columns, coal hoppers, and the towering chimney in the back garden confront each other in the air, setting a series of deep time anchors on the main axis of the park with their memories of vicissitude, awakening and releasing the long-forgotten industrial power.
Connecting and traversing. The factory area originally had two inclined concrete coal conveying tunnels. Origin Architect preserved them as display spaces and extracted them as a unique spatial configuration of the factory area, which was emphasized, developed, and evolved in the renovation. Like separated floating fragments, as many as 15 tunnel spaces with different era characters are embedded inside and outside the building. They lead the wandering path that appears and disappears from time to time, traveling back and forth between modern scenes and abandoned ruins, weaving overlapping perceptions of time.
The steel bridge made of heavy weather-resistant channel steel passes through the gaps between the clusters of towers, competing with the heavy stone tower for strength and time; The smooth and fragile glass walkway runs through the interior of the high-suspended coal hopper, reflecting the contrast of time; The metal mesh ladder path climbs along the wall, leaving a delicate shadow on the wall. These newly implanted components form a dialogue with the old structure, creating an opportunity to touch industrial relics closely, establishing extensive connections and continuous flow between indoor atriums, aerial terraces, ground gardens, chimney climbing ladders, and sports centers.
Starting from the coal tunnel inserted into the interior from the outside, architects expanded a sunshine valley embedded in the modern office space of the coal depot. People stroll freely in the climbing road system with various width that spreads in all directions, looking up at the steel-stepped bridges hanging over the valley, feeling the lively colors and light echoing in the valley. All kinds of cultural activities will happen on this three-dimensional and intertwined stage, where each individual will also find the joy of relaxation and exploration here.
Reignition. YuejieJinhui Park adopts an organic renewal and gradual strategy to deal with the post-epidemic era. The space transformation is implemented in stages, and the business operation is gradually nurtured and adjusted, which still needs to mature over time. The ground landscape in the park uses large areas of gravel and concrete block trails as the background industrial relics, forming a diverse-scale outdoor activity space around them. The buildings are covered with a special dark red coarse-grained coating, which varies with the light, sometimes deep and sometimes warm. Together with the red light that lights up the towering forest at night, it harmonizes the overall warm tone of the park. This is not only a metaphor for the flames of the coal-fired era in the past but also contains people’s longing for the reignition of hope and future economic recovery.