Stefano Boeri Architetti
Shanghai DOBE Cultural & Creative Industry Development Co., Ltd.
Architectural design, artistic direction
The intervention carried out at No. 501 Jiujiang Road is among the first of SBA China’s projects and deals with the renovation and renewal of one of old Shanghai’s most important landmarks: the building that originally housed the headquarters of the City Stock Exchange and which occupied a whole block.
The reuse of a public building with a historical value and which is bound by a number of constraints testifies to a new urban approach that the Chinese government is starting to adopt. This approach unites an unprecedented level of attention paid to the memory of the city and the start of a policy of limitation in terms of the occupation of urban territory. Through this renovation implemented by SBA, the complex has been transformed into a multifunctional hub for the city and at the same time a focal point for cultural exchange between China and Italy, dedicated to design and including a contemporary art gallery and two multi-purpose collective spaces.
The intervention transforms the great central hall of the Exchange into a vital green oasis: an open-air room designed as a kind of “decompression chamber” in the context of the surrounding urban density. At the same time this reclaimed place is also a passage, a fluid crossroads that connects two great communicating roads and which applies an urban device that is still relatively unknown in Shanghai. Even the roof has been redesigned as a new public space, open for concerts and conferences and here the volume is a tribute to the modern Italian icon of the Villa Malaparte in Capri as it stands out like an ark in the middle of a magnificent forest of skyscrapers. Although substantial, these transformations largely maintain the original appearance of the historical building and as such the project can be metaphorically described as an “acupuncture” intervention, calibrated to act on the existing in a targeted and precise manner. The building is currently managed by the Shanghai DOBE Cultural & Creative Industry Development, a municipal Shanghai agency that develops and facilitates the setting-up and growth of startups in various creative sectors and which has been recognized as the best interactive space in 2018 by Chance Lifestyle.