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  • 10.15.10

Wavy, Wonderful Brick Facade Marries Shanghai’s Past and Future

An old fabric warehouse is converted into a stunningly modern office and exhibit hall.

Wavy, Wonderful Brick Facade Marries Shanghai’s Past and Future

Brick is about the fustiest building material in the book — but with some 3-D modeling and imagination, it can become refreshingly modern. Case in point: World Architecture News has a story about a lovely office and exhibition space whose cinder-block facade seems to ripple.

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The office was a crumbling fabric warehouse in Shanghai that the architecture firm Archi Union patched up with a facade of hollow bricks. A hat tip to the building’s past, the gentle crests and troughs are meant to evoke the contours of silk blowing around in the wind. To create that pattern and its deceptively simple forms, the architects had to model the precise brick layouts in 3-D, on a computer.

Indoors, they toyed with the same theme, marrying the old and the new. They left existing solid brick walls exposed, then built up a dramatic indoor pavilion and filled the offices and conference rooms with starkly contemporary furniture.

Archi Union aren’t the only designers getting adventurous with bricks these days. Earlier in the year, we reported on Ginger Krieg Dosier, an architect who’s growing bricks from scratch. And last year, we told you about a robotic mason that turned a pedestrian island in Manhattan into an infinite loop of bricks. See more examples here.

[Via World Architecture News]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.

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