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Recasts historic riverfront factory as modern lifestyle destination.
The transformation of the Tianjin Thermal Factory into a mixed-use center acts as a model of sustainable urban renewal for this major port city. As part of a larger redevelopment with Jinmao Group that includes new office and residential towers, the five-story mall will sensitively connect the original 1937 structure with a new building and expanded civic functions.
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The multifaceted project takes advantage of its central location along the Haihe River and at the confluence of major subway lines to anchor a new pedestrian experience for the area. The scope of the project includes architecture, interior design and branding to develop a unified proposal around the concept of “transformation.” This approach refers both to the factory’s historic standing — as the first plant in the city to generate electricity—and to remaking it as a modern commercial complex that integrates retail, lifestyle, ecology, culture and education.
After completing several field surveys,
interviews with local residents, and research, the team conceived a plan to preserve and refine the original building within the expansion. In addition to the architecture and interiors, the design activates a large outdoor plaza along the river to create a public gathering space. The chimney of the old power plant stands as a sculpture in the plaza’s landmark corner.