The original state of the store
Photo © unarchitecte
Original condition of the underground passage
Photo © unarchitecte
Original state of underground toilet
Photo © unarchitecte
Through the facade of the window to see the interior movement of the space
Photo © unarchitecte
Curved walls enclose the entrance hall
Photo © unarchitecte
Waiting areas and staircases leading to the basement
Photo © unarchitecte
Waiting area
Photo © unarchitecte
The spatial relationship of several interior areas
Photo © unarchitecte
The transparent sphere on the wall covering the stairwell allows the sight to pass through
Photo © unarchitecte
Felt scales on a curved wall
Photo © unarchitecte
Relationship between interior wall and exterior window
Photo © unarchitecte
The hanging felt in treatment room
Photo © unarchitecte
The felt pieces that act as door, when opened, wrap around the interior's central pillar
Photo © unarchitecte
The walls of the treatment room with curly felt sheets
Photo © unarchitecte
The walls that repartition the interior space are gently detached from the outer walls
Photo © unarchitecte
The interlacing and spreading of the rope network redefines the underground traffic space
Photo © unarchitecte
the symbiosis between the ball and the net
Photo © unarchitecte
The front room of the toilet
Photo © unarchitecte
Photo © unarchitecte
Photo © unarchitecte
The rotation of the interior wall can be seen from the outside
Photo © unarchitecte
Drawing © unarchitecte

A Small Shop

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Road Fangyuan West, 100015 Beijing
0 - 100K
1-5 Stories

Low-cost renovation of abandoned civil air defense space in Beijing

By the street of a community in Chaoyang district, Beijing, a small house has been stood for decades as civil air defense exit. Many years passing by, the property applied ordinary use certificate and turned it into a shop. It was a jewelry store before, and our owner rented it as a beauty salon. There are two bullet-proof glass windows facing the southeast along the street façade with the entrance between them. No other doors and windows installed. The property also forbids to modify the building facade. The 30-square-meter indoor space is basically a square with one column supporting in the middle, which will be the business space. There is an open staircase in the southeast corner leading to an underground passage over 50 meters long, at the end of which is a room with water-wastewater system pipes inside. Since our clients are all women, the owner hopes to put a bathroom here for their convenience though it is a little far away. Thus, a long underground passage connects the two spaces, the upper shop and underground bathroom.

Besides the waiting area and operation room, we think it is necessary for a transition space at the entrance, and the stairwell should not be completely exposed to the waiting area. In this way, we need to accommodate and define four areas in this small space. In operation room, it is planned to place two cosmetic medical beds with operating space for private requirements. It serves as the core area, so we hope to set it in the deepest part of the space. The layout of the four areas at corners naturally form a rotating streamline. By tilting the upper wall to buffer narrow streamline with a curved wall constantly changing tilting angles running through the whole space from beginning to end, it presents four closed or open functional areas. We customized the light gray texture felts shaped like scales on the wall, surveying a calm elegant atmosphere, also fit to the changing curved surface exquisitely. This wall is also applied to the felts curtain in the interior operation room and the sofa in waiting area, while the sight can be passed through the transparent acrylic ball embedded in the wall, which makes the space appear spacious to be explored. The whole space is outlined and supported by a wall winding, full of the tension of brewing protection.

The underground passage environment may look a bit closed. But we hope to give abundant meaning for it without too much added cost. We used bolt fixed to the four walls outline the abstract profiles of different butterflies, and connected them with white industrial polyester line to form a gradient between different shapes. It is the extension of the management space on the ground, if upper space is a beautiful cocoon, so here is the butterfly out of the cocoon presenting exquisite corridor dotted with acrylic hemispheres displaying beauty products, so as to decorate the hollowness and monotonous linear space and increase the commodity display space. In the bathroom, we used white tiles similar to felt scales decorate the overall walls of the front room, sink and bathroom. In the bright and tranquil enclosing space, the round mirror on the wall provides customers with opportunities for self-reflection in their moments of solitude, which could lead to calm and firm judgements.

A small shop consisted by three narrative spaces with whole space separated by external forces as the beginning and end parts, they changed respectively, at the same time, generate connections. In fact, there seems to be countless tentacles connect two separated spaces forming a relationship and completed their respective transformations. These connections and transformations combine the events taken place in the building with the space itself, so that people can sense meaning, and gain an experience of existence and activity. Humans and space generate dialogues and resonance, and forms the perception and desire for beauty, interpret and perceive the allegory of space, completing the final definition of the entire narrative spaces of this small shop.


Project Name: A Small Shop
Architects: unarchitecte
Email: [email protected]
Completion Year: 2020
Gross Built Area: 145.92sqm
Address: Beijing,China
Photographer: unarchitecte
Architect in Charge: Zhang Hetian
Design Team: Zhang Hetian, Xu Xuan, Wang Jinhua, Liu Qi, Fan Yonggang, Zhang Jinxian, Liu Jing
Clients: Personal proprietor
Construction Company: SPYY Decoration Engineering Co., Ltd.
Collaborators: Superstructure

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