Shangwei – ‘If it is broke, then fix it’ feels like an appropriate phrase for Studio 10’s Inlay Workshop, the primary exhibition venue for the 2017 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB) in Shenzen, China. Handed the theme of Urban Villages, and an abandoned electronics factory as a site, the designers at Studio 10 studiously contemplated their roles as urban revitalizers.
With nothing of explicit beauty or note – crumbling mosaic walls, corrugated-metal panels and an industrial roll-up door formed part of a materials palette synonymous with obsolete factories in China’s urban hamlets – the building, like others of its kind, almost begged to be demolished. The existing elements that Studio 10 encountered are ‘often seen to be cheap, temporary and dated,’ says the firm’s founder, Shi Zhou, ‘and are some of the first to be removed.’ Instead, the team considered the factory as a ‘prototype for the hundreds of thousands of similar small-scale factories, workshops and industrial buildings commonly seen in such villages. ‘We studied smart, practical regeneration strategies that could be applied to the typology at large.’