Studio MOA by Atelier GOM, Shanghai – China

May 26th, 2016 by retail design blog

The office for atelier MOA in west bund is a temporary building, with a period of 5-10 years of use. MOA is the branch office of Atelier GOM, which is mainly responsible for events like design exhibition, salon, performing arts and so on. This is the practice of the architects to build an office for themselves.

A small part of the building will serve as a cafe and a studio, most of the space is for exhibition, and many non-daily events will occur here. The functional properties of half solid and half void inspire the architect to treat the building not in a static, conventional way, but in an attempt to find its own design expression.

And looking at the era we are living, many architects are discussing theory as “minimalism”, “less is more”, “Sachlichkeit”, etc. The logic of construction seems to reveal itself in a clear way. But if we trace back to the origin that people construct a building in order to provide a shelter for themselves, all the theories seem to be questioned.

For the construction of studio MOA which is “lighter” than a normal architecture, whether there can be a “undisciplined” attitude to build? We are not affected by the shackles of any theory, only rely on to the worship for the nature, the sun, the wind, and the water. Then the design intention is coming into being, to build with instinct, not rely on any theory. Here, the building becomes a vital individual.

Many non-construction materials are used here. Matter goes beyond the attributes defined by the people and return to a simple identity. For example, we can see different colors of old doors collaging into the walls of courtyard, socket wiring decorating Cafe background wall, iron architectural section model becoming a table, metal curtain becoming partitions and so on.

At the same time, the house is also a building that could be broken down, remodeled at any time. It is more like the architectural prototype proposed by Gottfried Semper, with four fundamental elements as platform, roof, wall, and the fire. Except for the coffee shop on the ground floor and the studio on top, there is not a fully enclosed space inside the building. Sunshine, air indulge here.

Studio MOA is an inclusive building. It accepts and welcomes daylight, wind, birds and even stray dogs and cats. In order to allow daylight to fill in the building, the top interface and the vertical interface of the space are made of material with good light transmission and diffuse reflection properties. Perhaps precisely because of the “fragility” of the building, the project has delivered a magical moment, a delicate balance between construction and non-construction.

When we experience it, we feel peaceful and free. Even, we can’t simply use a still image to perceive it. Just like the Chinese classical garden, you must walk through it, to experience the light changing from bright to dark, or a corner to be suddenly enlightened.

Architects: Atelier GOM
Design Team: Zhang Jiajing, Huang Wei
Photographs: Zhang Jiajing

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