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Winning design for Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts

  • © Willmore CG
  • © Willmore CG
  • © Willmore CG
  • © Willmore CG
Winning design for Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts
sbp 12.07.2021

In an international competition for the conversion of a former stainless steel factory into an art academy in Shanghai, schlaich bergermann partner advised the architects of gmp on the structural design. The resulting design emerged as winner, competing among others against the concepts of Kengo Kuma & Associates and Perkins & Will.  The project is considered an important example in the revitalization of existing buildings in China and worldwide.


Located in the Baoshan district of Shanghai, the factory hall, disused since 2016, is to be converted and become the new headquarters of the Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts. It is intended to become a central focus point for the local art scene in Shanghai and provide a new international art hub. The 860-meter-long factory will retain its basic structure and will include studios, a publicly accessible forum with restaurants and retail areas, a library, sports facilities, a museum and other exhibition areas, as well as optional facilities.  


For this purpose, a corridor will be formed in the core of the factory building using the existing load-bearing system which will be reinforced.  The existing steel trusses are located along this corridor. Two large transverse streets cut through the more than 800 meter long complex. Bridgework-type structures will be carefully integrated at these points and span over the newly created street spaces. The large skylights - highly distinctive structures above the truss levels - will be upgraded and re-clad. Together with large openings, they allow lighting and natural ventilation of the central axis of movement and emphasize the open, industrial character of the building. At the respective ends, new entrance areas are being added and complemented by upgraded or new structural elements.


Overall, efforts are made to preserve and reuse a high degree of existing structural elements. By carefully upgrading and preserving the prominent structural elements, it is intended to enhance the character of the site in a new function.

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