Wutopia Lab renovated a 543-sq-m historical house in central Shanghai without altering the original building code-protected elements. The house was reshaped into “a secret place”, a home that now includes a home office, courtyard and small private gallery.
Originally, the house sheltered six families in a labyrinthine layout, but the architects could not touch the original façade, structure, room function, old trees, mosaic tiles or wooden floors.
Since it was not possible to change the layout, color is used as the independent and unique basic element of the design to shape the spatial texture.
Utopia Lab used different textures and depths of black and white as a set of relationships as the main color of the house. When black and white ash is absent, the tone, line, contrast, and contrast between light and dark may be a choice to shape the space.
The choice of materials and colors generate layers of time and memory.
The miniature gallery on the first floor is the main space of the entire house, it’s in a relationship of positive and negative with the courtyard. The three spaces of the gallery are wrapped in a continuous black wall skirt, and the difference in the pattern of the wall skirt implies a functional distinction between the living space, the exhibition hall and the social space.
The first-floor gallery used a two-meter-high black wood grain wall skirt with three different textures, as well as a beige white stucco ceiling and a grey disc multi-grinding. The second-floor office area is shaped by a glossy black wall skirt and a refurbished narrow strip of old, white walls, the most contrasting color combinations.
The three-level intimate resting space is a medium-gray environment with black and white terrazzo and rough medium-gray stucco and narrow old floors combined with old furniture. The meditation room on the top is in gray, reducing the intensity of the light.
The modern courtyard has a Chinese meaning. On the three sides of the courtyard, a tulip-like brass grille screen is placed, and the original unchangeable wall is visually separated from the courtyard as a background, and the temperament of retaining the facade is quietly rewritten.
We regard the courtyard as part of the facade and interior space, which can be subtly change the feel of the facade and become the prelude for the interior.
Photo: CreatAR Images