“CRRC” is the full name of CRRC Chengdu Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co., Ltd., also known as “Chengchang”. The CRRC factory building was built and put into use in the 1950s, and the architectural form is a Chinese-Soviet eclectic style. The original intention of the project was to transform the front hall of the CRRC depot building to meet the display requirements of the regional plan, and then put it back into use.
For the architect, being able to participate in the design of an old building is an honored and special task. When you face a protected building that is more than sixty years old, it is like facing an old man who is over 60 years old. Broken tiles and cracked walls, like white hair and wrinkles, are marks of time. The design stepped in the repair and renewal process of this protected building with a humble attitude. Fashion, novelty, and trend are not the goals we pursue in design. All we want is to intervene less and achieve more.
The design adopts a protection strategy, maximizing the retention of the construction prototype of the 50’s. Newly built part keep a distance from the old, giving the original building the greatest respect, while forming a self-consistent design logic. The design was transformed into a series of construction measures: demolition, repair, dismantling, building beams and hanging walls.
Demolition of walls, ceilings, doors and windows added to the original building during its use; Repair of damaged roofs, exterior doors and windows; Removal of dust from the original building beams, sanding with wood wax oil protection; Clear the plastering of the wall over the years, revealing the original gray wall when it was first completed; Steel rectangular tubes were set up as structural beams at the original ceiling keel holes, as structural support for local ceilings, wall ends, and lamp rails, and also as hidden wires Pipes; The hanging wall is the most important new element in the design. As the exhibition wall and background, it looks like a blank canvas after being cut out, wrapping the entire interior space clearly and freely. The hanging wall is separated from the original wall, the top is anchored on the steel beam, and the bottom is rooted on the buried beam on the surface of the newly built terrazzo floor. Entering the main exhibition hall, the hanging wall blocks the light from the windows and create a stable indoor light environment.
It was a pleasant design process. We are grateful for what we have done and also for what we have not done. When architects try to bravely let go of their self-expression and obsession, perhaps they can more easily meet the multiple unknown possibilities.