Adaptive Reuse: Beijing Fusion Centre

“A exercise in restrained continuity.”

The transformation of Beijing Aegean Square, a shopping mall, into Beijing Fusion Centre, a state-of-the-art workplace for upwards of 8000 employees, was an exercise in restrained continuity.

As economic and sustainable as it is elegant and agile, the resulting workplace was envisioned as a hub for peer-to-peer collaboration and shared energy. LEED Gold certified and socially efficient, the Beijing Fusion Centre focused on function – deeply considering the day-to-day movements of the end user. Careful attention has been paid to creating opportunities for aesthetic continuity both inside and out, with the façade’s distinctive wave-like pattern informing the intentional calm of the interiors.

“We set out to highlight the existing structure efficiently and elegantly.”

What was the approach?

The design strategy for the adaptive reuse of Beijing Fusion Centre primarily focused on preserving the original building and structure, while introducing modifications that would facilitate its new function as a workplace.  

To assist with this change in use, a sunken plaza and outdoor atrium were added to serve as food and beverage spaces as well as social settings. Workplace lifts replaced the original retail escalators, the atrium was upgraded for more efficient workplace use and – most importantly – the existing floor plate was adapted via the insertion of a central cut though that allowed light to flood the space.

Beyond these functional changes, Woods Bagot paid careful attention to the building’s aesthetic appeal. The new façade, designed to harmonize with the surrounding urban context, features a wave-like pattern made from glass and metal. This contemporary design not only reflects changes in weather and surroundings but also echoes the simplicity and elegance of the interior design language.  

Before & after.

Why was this approach better than defaulting to demolition?

Beijing Fusion Centre also presented a unique opportunity to explore the possibilities of converting a retail space to an office. Of a bygone time, the interiors of the shopping mall were styled in a Greek influence – complete with columns and imitation marble – that had become severely outdated. By repositioning the function, Woods Bagot significantly extended the lifecycle of the complex, embracing a future-focused, economic and sustainable ethos.  

Lessons learnt/problems solved?

There were two main lessons for the adaptive reuse of Beijing Fusion Centre:  

  1. Agility is King . The unique nature of a retail to office conversion means the process comes with its own set of challenges. Underway immediately after the pandemic, the office needed to be hyper flexible in order to accommodate market change and adjust to the unique needs of any range of incoming tenants. Agility was achieved with a layout that focused on circulation, light, and connection. Conceived of as a floating village, the office has been meticulously programmed – featuring a social floor on the second floor, a rooftop garden, as well as striking access to the atrium throughout. 
  2. Into the Deep. The challenge of the project was to adapt the existing deep floorplate and make it a bright and friendly work environment. The solution was to cut the centre of floorplate and created a generous atrium that brought light into the workspace. 

“Adaptive reuse became a way to reimagine elements of the building’s distinct façade – reinterpreting material, texture, and form.”