The Ark; Transformation of an Old Factory

Chinese architecture studio MAD has unveiled its plans for The Ark, a project involving the renovation and extension of a warehouse at an old cement factory in Shanghai, China. MAD's ambition is to preserve the industrial aesthetic of the ageing warehouse on the banks of Chuanyang River while contrasting it with the contemporary addition. The Ark will be distinguished by a futuristic, curved metal extension positioned at roof level and designed to resemble a floating ship – giving the project its name. Once complete in 2026, it is hoped to become a "multifunctional public waterfront space" catering for a mix of creative, cultural and catering businesses.







A monumental metal staircase ascends through a fluid portal toward the rooftop, while a tiered garden houses creative and cultural areas below. A glass curtain wall gracefully separates the old factory wall from the floating ark overhead. A glass elevation will also be added in place of the warehouse's west facade, while others will be repaired and retained. Natural light filters through the gaps, illuminating the garden and reflecting off the stainless steel ceiling, creating a sense of light and greenery.







To provide a riverside view, the first floor of the old factory building opens up to integrate with the waterfront plaza. Meanwhile, a central corridor connects the park plaza with the riverbank, while a newly designed bridge allows access across the river. The rooftop is conceived as an additional urban public space, offering sweeping views of the Chuanyang River in the distance.








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