In Shanghai, an abandoned urban corduroy factory that had blighted a neighborhood enjoys a beautiful new mixed-use life

In Shanghai, China, the former Shanghai Corduroy Factory is located at No. 2440 Pingliang Road in the Yangpu District.

It was built in the 1980s. But the industry shifted, the factory stopped operating, and the buildings have been awaiting rebirth for years.

To revitalize these ugly old urban factories, the Berlin, Germany-based design firm FTA (which has an office in Shanghai) was commissioned.

Their missions was to innovatively transform them into an attractive mixed-use redevelopment that helps revitalize the surrounding neighborhood.

Here’s what the folks at FTA say about their design strategy for repurposing, renewing and reconnecting this local dead spot:

The design aim was to retain the historical memory and, at the same time, to dig into the personality of the site, enhance the visibility and commercial value, and eventually make it a “destination” for leisure and work.

Along the street, the design optimizes the shape of the original blue stainless steel saw-tooth roof of the factory and creates a facade texture that responds to the memory of Corduroy.

Also the design focuses on shops along street, which enhances their commercial value while telling people historical stories.

In the inner street, in order to solve the challenge of confusing logistics and traffic, FTA designs multiple entrances and exits, while satisfying each building with an independent entrance.

Altogether it generates an interesting courtyard working experience. The landscape design of the pavement continues the Corduroy texture, paying tribute to history.

In order to reduce the operational risk, a flexible product portfolio was designed, including transforming the single-storey space of jagged buildings along the street into loft spaces.

All these design strategies enhanced the commercial value of the project.

The design strategically optimizes the architectural parts, such as the artistic treatment of the bridge across the buildings – bold bright yellow color not only makes the community feel younger, but also more appealing.

In addition, FTA offered tailored branding service for the new Corduroy Factory, including naming (Corduroy Alley) and visual identity.

The new LOGO translates the highly recognizable “twill” patterns into the architectural shape to unify the product and brand image, which highly improved the project’s visibility.

After the transformation, Corduroy Alley not only takes on a new look and emits a youthful atmosphere.

It also offers a wide range of office and business, such as a network live broadcasting service platform, a photography studio, some architectural design companies, a fitness studio, an interior design company, etc.

At the same time, the project has also been greatly improved its value as an asset. The investment return period will only be 1.5 years. It can be said that it is a successful urban renewal project in multiple perspectives.

All images courtesy of FTA.

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