Lens Office / TAO – Trace Architecture Office


North Elevation. Image Courtesy of TAO - Trace Architecture Office

North Elevation. Image Courtesy of TAO – Trace Architecture Office
  • Architects: TAO – Trace Architecture Office
  • Location: Guang Qu Dong Lu, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi, China
  • Architect: Li Hua
  • Design Team: Li Hua, Yunqiao Du, Erxun Lai, Taihao Zhao
  • Area: 1113.3 m2
  • Project Year: 2017
  • Structural Engineer: Zhigang Ma
  • Mep Engineer: Jianjun Lv
  • Construction: Beijing Wushi Architecture Engineering co.Ltd
  • Structural System: Steel Structure
  • Client: Lens Magazine

South Elevation. Image Courtesy of TAO - Trace Architecture Office

South Elevation. Image Courtesy of TAO – Trace Architecture Office

Text description provided by the architects. This project is designed for Lens Magazine, located in 1958 Industrial Avenue in Beijing, as their head office and event place. The building was built in 1958 and served as a warehouse of Transportation Department of Beijing Commercial Storage Company. The Large span pitched roof, supported by wood trusses and iron joints, is a typical warehouse typology in 1950s and indicates an aesthetic of structural purification.


Physical Model

Physical Model

2nd Floor Bookshelf Corridor. Image Courtesy of TAO - Trace Architecture Office

2nd Floor Bookshelf Corridor. Image Courtesy of TAO – Trace Architecture Office

Physical Model

Physical Model

As restoration project mainly interprets the strength of time by reconciling the old and new. The design strategy intends to present the trace of time through spatial sequence and materials. The new plan rearranged the interior with spatial diversity and flexibility. The dark steel panel, due to its mottling surface and straightness, is integrated with the original site specific and brings a new life.


View From 2nd Floor. Image Courtesy of TAO - Trace Architecture Office

View From 2nd Floor. Image Courtesy of TAO – Trace Architecture Office

The interior space is divided to several rooms with different scale by a central bookshelf corridor. The bookshelf not only connects the public and private space but also conducting human activities to the spatial fellow.


South Working Area View From 2nd Floor. Image Courtesy of TAO - Trace Architecture Office

South Working Area View From 2nd Floor. Image Courtesy of TAO – Trace Architecture Office

Exhibition Area 2nd Floor Lounge. Image Courtesy of TAO - Trace Architecture Office

Exhibition Area 2nd Floor Lounge. Image Courtesy of TAO – Trace Architecture Office

The book gallery is in the center of the building. It is constructed with book shelves to rebuild rituality that is fading away from modern life, but still corresponding to the cultural identity of Lens magazine. The verticality also brings people’s concentration on the old roof structure. In the south area, the double height space with natural light encouraged people to communicate and enjoy the pleasant office atmosphere. On the other side, the northern area is quieter.


View to Book Corridor. Image Courtesy of TAO - Trace Architecture Office

View to Book Corridor. Image Courtesy of TAO – Trace Architecture Office

The domestic scale with lower ceiling and lounge attaches to the bay windows offers the sense of peace and tranquility. The exhibition space is enclosed by revolving steel wall panels, which are both working as partition walls and exhibition boards for art works. When the panels are opened, the space has a better spatial circulation. As the panels are closed, the exhibition area turns to a courtyard that brings the viewpoint to the upper old roof. It also creates a space for holding lectures and exhibitions.


Interior Passage. Image Courtesy of TAO - Trace Architecture Office

Interior Passage. Image Courtesy of TAO – Trace Architecture Office

The openings are corresponding to interior spaces. As the original south windows are too high, the project blocked the higher window and inserts lower windows which bring more light to eye level. The blocked upper window also creates a profound darkness in the roof. The ventilating function is detached from the window and transformed to the ventilation void below. The windows are able to capture the exterior landscape without any structural distractions.


Exterior Resting Platform. Image Courtesy of TAO - Trace Architecture Office

Exterior Resting Platform. Image Courtesy of TAO – Trace Architecture Office