Project description

Re-Animating a Fabric Factory 

Shanghai, PRC 


After studying the Quay Brother’s Street of Crocodiles, two objects were found – a 1950s Czechoslovakian radio and a clock from the 1930s. Although these were not working, they had complex internal mechanisms, one mechanical and the other electrical. The animation developed as a kind of choreography of the dismantling of these.  The final scene – in which the shadows of removed components were captured by a camera through an opaque surface – became crucial for the subsequent design. 


The project is based around a disused fabric factory in Shanghai, with the animators’ house and studio programme being re-envisioned as a film school with accommodation.  In the initial film, the parts of the dismembered machines became mobile, losing their fixed relation to their originating mechanisms, and – as a consequence of this – they became abstract and generative of new conditions.  These elements were then read – as a kind of debris that implicated space, climate, individuals, and substance – in order to produce a constellation of programmatic fragments, which became scattered around the existing building, dynamising it and the surrounding space.   

Skills & Experience
  • LEED AP (BD+C)
  • Rhino Offfical Modeling Approved
The Animate Matter Film- Afterpieces

Studying the Street of Crocodiles animation left us fascinated about the existing sense of time as materiality. This inspired us (Petros Tsifoutidis) to produce an animation film that also contained material depth as well as interest. We came to a mutual agreement to look for old and remarkable objects that could be part of the filming. As a result, we found two objects, one being a 1950s Czechoslovakian radio
and another was a 1930s clock. Although these two objects were not working, they both had complex internal mechanisms whereby the clock had had mechanical parts, and the radio had electrical part. For both objects, the mechanisms were securely hidden and only visible once the back cover was removed. The fact that the internal components were hidden and could only be revealed after removing the back cover was the reason the objects were selected because it is similar to one of the features in Street of Crocodiles.

This gave the animation the best starting point, the material or rather the object or the matter. The film would therefore focus on animating the matter. This would be achieved by articulating a general approach to dismantling both objects. The outcome of this was still unknown. Just like with the Quay brothers, we did not have a particular script, and we let the content be guided by the materiality of the film. What directed the way the components of the radio and the clock would be dismantled was they felt and appeared. This made the creative process very intuitive, and the last scene came after the dismantling of both objects, which made it the only scene that had a planned setting. For the shadows of the removed components to be captured by a camera beneath them through an opaque surface, they were placed on a glass-lined with tracing paper. We ensured that the digital editing of all the captured images was in line with what had been physically captured.

Site Location

My Site is located in the Yangpu district. It is located in the northeastern part of downtown Shanghai, bordering the Huangpu River in the east and south direction.  The Site was surrounded by historical factories and old residential buildings. 

Site Plan
Site Plan
Site Plan
Urban Site Plan

To realise urban renewal, reconstruction of old structures such as industries, old towns, post-disaster development, public spaces, renewing ecology, and renovation of infrastructure should be considered. Urban renewal solely depends on national and local policies. For a successful urban regeneration, prolonged construction operation and comprehensive plan particularly strategic development plans supported by the economy, politics, and society.

Site Plan
Site Plan
Design Concept

Inspiration the main idea for deconstructivism principle was to “create the impossible.” This is because it has been constructed based on the post-modern wave, thereby shifting away from the elementary architectural principles and structural norms of classic buildings and deforms. The idea of deconstructivism leads to a state of confusion and chaos by including the concept of non-linear implementation into the buildings and prioritising fragmentation. The buildings create a sense of strangeness, quickly attract the eye and also appear unique. The idea of deconstructivism does not prioritise keeping distorted structures and shapes at the building’s outer façade. However, the designs included in deconstructivism creates destabilisation to interior elements, alters the perceptions of the people by incorporating a futuristic touch and also prioritise minimalism. 

The machine’s parts can seem like space, event, life and all-important components. Along these lines and reorganized, it makes objectives boundlessly unique. Incorporation with the deconstructivism concept,  adjust with the visula impact and comfort, it becomes my design principle. 

Concept Diagram
Concept Diagram
Explode Diagram
Level One Plan
Level Two Plan
Considering the construction and Environmental Influence

For the building refurbishment project, how to deal with an existing structure and consider the environmental influence. As the existing building more than 50 years, it lacks the insulation layer on the external envelope, most of the brick walls were missed already. For my design strategy, the exterior brick wall will remain. The missing part will add a low-E glazing wall to approach the low carbon emission. The 50mm insulation later will add behind the existing brick wall in the meantime. As the design is just in the concept stage, it will introduce the building management system for future consideration. From another perspective, the existing columns and steel roof will remain. People still can feel the existing history and also experience the new life for this building. 

In terms of the environmental strategy, following the LEED and WeLL requirements, the green wall and permeable ground will introduce to this building. As the central courtyard that links the two parts of the building, it will provide an environmentally friendly social space,it also satisfies the regulation for the fire exits.

Detail Section
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Architecture - MArch

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