Ningyang Road of Qingdao City was one of the earliest developments during the German-occupation period (1898-1914). In 2020, Ningyang Road started a renovation project. By this chance, a local coffee brand “Largo” invited us to Ning Yang Road, renovating an old house in this historic district.
The project’s site is located in a courtyard of a century-old German house (now has been listed heritage) on Ningyang Road. It consists of three rooms of different sizes, separating from the German-style main house built around the 1950s. The three rooms, totaling 40 square meters, were all brick and timber construction.
A large middle room with a single sloping roof faces the street. It had been converted into a store front-age from the original car entrance of the courtyard’s wall. There is a double-roofed room opening to the in-ner courtyard but not connected to the other two rooms on the left hand. On the right side exists a small room not directly connected to the street. The double-roofed room has been using the stone courtyard wall as part of its one side, and the roof above is held up by a light steel tie-rod roof frame, creating an attrac-tive, prototypical room section.
When we talk about renovation, the first question is how to connect these three rooms by function arrange-ment. We kept the original store frontage, the large middle room, as the main entrance and set the bar to its right. Thus, the bar appears to be perpendicular to the street and connected to the smaller room entrance, which is used as a storage shed. And for the middle-sized double-roofed room, we create a new doorway in the middle of the wall shared by the largest room and this room, creating a vertical flow line to the bar, which becomes the main area for guests to stay.
Morphologically, we wanted to maintain the perceived integrity of the old space as much as possible rather than simply dividing it. For this reason, we used black steel panels as the renovation vocabulary in the dou-ble-sloped roof room at the height of windows and doors, exposing the original roof frame space. It can bring a new sense of enclosure and make the old walls ‘reinforcement structure, the pipework, and the light-ing treatment become a whole. The steel tie roof frame is kept as an essential spatial feature. Moreover, to the upper part of the gable wall on the west, we used mirrored acrylic as material to reflect the roof frame and double-sloped ceiling, and it can also enhance the sense of spatial extension and bring a sense of cer-emony.
For the surfaces of this double-sloped roof room, on the street side, we kept half of the stone courtyard wall and made it exposed. Additionally, a long horizontal window was cut into the upper half of the brick wall, based on the existing high windows, to enhance the connection with the street. I-beams are used as transoms for the long windows, lapped to steel columns, and dropped onto the masonry wall to support the load of the roof frame above. This long horizontal window is divided into two parts： the upper part and the lower part. The upper part uses hollow glass blocks suspended from the masonry at the height of a standing person’s sight level. The lower half is made of hollow transparent glass panels to create a visual difference between the interior and the street. Therefore, only the guests seated by the window can see the street clearly.
On the other side facing the courtyard, we replaced the original door with a folding sliding window with a uni-fied bench at the lower end on both the inner and outer sides. To create continuity on both sides, another folding window sash was set on the outside of the wall. When the window opened, in addition to incorporat-ing the inner courtyard space into the interior, the opposite exposed stone courtyard wall echoes the stone wall of the German house fa?ade, also indicating a certain spatial relationship between the courtyard and the original German house.
Furthermore， the bar was made with solid glass blocks and integrated into a volume performed like an ‘ig-loo’, a new constructed installation, in the old room. It was separated from the exposed brick wall, with the glass blocks contrasting with the exposed red brick of the old building on an equal scale. The void space left behind serves as a backdrop for the lighting presentation and facilitates the installation of the bar equipment pipework. At the entrance, a tiny room was provided as an insulation measure for the entrance and exit doors. It can add a level of spatial perception to the entry into the shop. The seating stools suspended under the steel canopy of this room are for pedestrians and customers to rest their feet and take photos.
Externally, the long glass windows and the entrance to the tiny room with seating were carefully embedded in the old building fa?ade, together with the newly set mirrored metal ball shop sign above, the old German house, and the old courtyard behind, creating a dialogue in time and space.
Project name：Largo Ning Yang Road shop renovation
Location：Yingyu Lane, Ningyang Road, Shinnan District, Qingdao
Type of project：house renovation, shop design
Architectural design：Atelier Waterside
Architect：Liu Yang, Tang Handan (internship)
Constructor：Xu Lihe(Jinggong Decoration)
Consulting support：Dong Shuyin, Lin Yingqun
Materials：I-beam, black steel plate, glass block, glass
Building Area：40 m²