Oxygen Factory Complex:
Big Air Venue of Building A
2018 – 2021
The redevelopment of the Oxygen Factory in Shougang started from reconsidering the industrial relic in terms of a a performative platform, where the insertion of new functions may rise unforeseen potentialities in terms of public space composition. In this way the organization of the single building can re-enter within the wider program of the site, hybridizing local necessities into a urban design scale configuration.
Leading University: Politecnico di Torino (DAD + DIST + China Room research group)
Partner Institutions: Tsinghua University (Achitectural Design and Research Institute) and Atelier TeamMinus
Principal Investigator: Michele Bonino, and Zhang Li
Coordinator: Edoardo Bruno
Architectural Design: Camilla Forina, Andrea Tinazzo, Alberto Bologna, Francesco Carota, Huishu Deng, Valeria Federighi, Maria Paola Repellino
Construction Design: THAD
Lighting Design: Zhang Xin Studio.
Structural Design: Walter Ceretto, Li Guo, Pan Ping’an.
Technical Design: Enrico Fabrizio, Xu Qing, Zhai Shasha, Jia Zhaokai, Liu Huili, Wang Lei, Zhong Xin
Advisory Board: Gustavo Ambrosini, Mauro Berta, Massimo Crotti, Davide Rolfo, Elena Vigliocco, Pierre-Alain Croset, Simona Canepa, Alessandro Mazzotta, Elena Vigliocco, Rossella Maspoli, Michela Barosio, Giovanni Durbiano, Mario Grosso, Roberta Ingaramo, Paolo Mellano, Marco Trisciuoglio, Manfredo Di Robilant, Marco Vaudetti
Managment: Politecnico di Torino – International Affairs Office – China Center
Building Construction: Oxygen Factory Complex: Big Air Venue of Building A
Venue: XXIV Olympic Winter Games of Beijing 2022
Organiser: Committee for the XXIV Olympic Winter Games of Beijing 2022
Period: September 2nd, 2021 – January 17th, 2022
Bonino, M., Bruno, E., Armando, A., & Durbiano, G. (2022). The Story of a Section: Designing the Shougang Oxygen Factory. Los Angeles: ORO Editions. ISBN 978-1-954081-73-4
The transformation of the Oxygen Factory, developed in collaboration with Tsinghua University, is part of the general recovery masterplan of Shougang, a former steel factory in the extreme west area of Beijing, for the Big Air venue in view of the XXIV Olympic Winter Games of Beijing 2022. The project involved the whole Department of Architecture and Design of Politecnico di Torino for design, structural and plant engineering consultancies, within a multidisciplinary and shared process.
The project has given the possibility to define participatory processes within the Department of Architecture and Design of Politecnico di Torino, calling into action its faculties in organizing multidisciplinary roundtables and workshops, aimed to set preliminary guidelines and architectural proposals. The methodological relevance of this approach was unexpected: it requested disciplines to systematically confront each other in the short term and make consistent decisions moved forward to the dedicated design team.
The project intended to open the original building to the public visiting the competition site. For this reason, the building has been shaped according to two main considerations: passing from being an anonymous and closed volume into a public plaza, transforming itself into a sightseen point over Big Air Competitions.
The concrete columns with their regular rhythm, the mezzanine, the reticular beams of the roof and the tall ventilation towers have been preserved not as a separated industrial relic, but instead as pre-existing elements influencing the private/public circulation and distribution of functions.
Following these strategies, the intervention sought to respond to a simple question: how to preserve the space and the image of the Oxygen Factory, while hosting a dense program of activities for the Olympic event and post-game use? The project dealt with the existing structure in three ways with different densities to meet the requirements.
At the park level, spectators are welcomed into the building under a covered, sizeable public space, which can be walked in every direction: an equipped playground that introduces the public to the pleasure of physical movement, to the experience of active health, and to the spirit of sports competition.
Further up, starting from the current mezzanine of the factory, the dense program of offices, welcome-areas, and research center is housed into two large glass boxes, whose volumes float above the playground, within the structural skeleton of the factory.
On the roof, small club-houses emerge in the landscape, offering the guests an exclusive experience looking towards the competition area and the river and the mountains.
The final image of the glass volume surpassing the boundary of the former factory and floating over the ground floor has been the result of an essential structural research. The new vertical distribution has become the central supporting element of the entire building, leaving the ground spaces as much as free as possible from visual barriers and therefore giving the possibility to be entitled as the first “public plaza” of the entire masterplan.
The project for the redevelopment of the Oxygen Factory in Shougang has defined how design can fully participate in retrieving industrial relics, prioritizing the experiential role of public spaces’ performance. On a wider sense, the project opens a reflection on the possibility to determine human-centered long-term strategies developed within the context of the organization of mega-events, with further implications on the current status of Chinese industrial regeneration processes.