Adaptive Re-Use – Guangzhou, China
A unique opportunity arose in 2014 for BMA to design and help deliver a new office space located within an obsolete brewery facility being reimagined as a thriving 'creativity park' housing an eclectic range of creative, recreational and commercial uses in Guangzhou, China.
Guangzhou, China
Dom Bennett

Few, if any, architects would attempt to place a ‘square peg into a round hole’. While Bennett Murada Architects, like many practices, workin an orthogonal manner, this office for Coates Signage, within a curved silo, required a different solution. So, being pragmatic about the form of the 10 storey-high silo (with Coates occupying the bottom two levels of approximately 300 square metres), the architects responded to the curves of the silo (one of four), embracing the opportunities.

This unusual fit-out was also the first for Coates overseas, setting the stage for further expansion in different cities. The brief to accommodate 25 staff in this office was as challenging as its form, along with the many constraints faced working within a silo shell. With regular shaped workstations (rectangular or square), the maximum number of people that could be accommodated would be half of what was required.

So, the way forward was to create circular walls of plaster and glass, along with round desks and workstations that would fit this space, including a second-level mezzanine area. Meeting areas are curved, including amenities such as bathrooms – nine workstations can be found at ground level with an additional 18 staff working on the first floor, all thoughtfully orchestrated between the many structural concrete columns and curved walls. And in contrast to these massive concrete columns, there’s a skeletal ‘floating’ steel-treaded staircase simply framed by tension wire – sculptural and eloquent.

As with all the Coates offices, there’s a digital showroom. And given the need for additional light, new steel and glass windows were strategically inserted into the exterior wall that’s connected to a pedestrian walkway.

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