Built in 1840, the site was the first modern textile mill for China. After a fire during WWII almost burned the factory to the ground, a series of renovations were undertaken, thus giving it a mixed aesthetic of Gregorian and postwar architecture. Since then, it has taken on a different life as a museum and shopping center but fails to attract visitors, thus leaving it in a state of disarray.
As such, the firm was commissioned to revitalize it into into a world-class entertainment and retail destination. The original layout will be expanded to spur exploration while referencing the efficiency of the original mill—a collection of six buildings positioned in a linear, grid-like pattern. To refer to both its imperial and industrial roots, portions of 19th-century and 20th-century façades will be maintained. Crude materials such as brick and anthracite grey tone for mullion finishing will highlight its mixed aesthetic.
Accessible to both drivers and pedestrians, the retail center will be created along the main road, across the street from a newly built subway station. Visitors will be greeted by a contemporary elevated platform with views to Daming Palace—the Tang Dynasty’s royal residence for more than 220 years. This space can also be used for future exhibitions and events.
To achieve an interactive, pop culture experience, major entertainment attractions as well as food and beverage outlets, an arts center, theatre, museum, and a hotel will be featured. Woods Bagot intends to give locals a sense of pride in their manufacturing history and reason to look forward as the city evolves for years to come.