Atelier Deshaus and conversion of the relics of the industrial past: an exhibition in Berlin

Atelier Deshaus,

Shanghai, Berlin, Germany,


The exhibition at the Aedes Architecture Forum in Berlin focuses on seven projects by Atelier Deshaus from Shanghai, with the intention of demonstrating how abandoned production facilities and relics of our industrial past should not be considered wastes to be disposed of, and do not represent obstacles to sustainable development of our cities, but can be transformed into attractive new public places with a strategy of minimal intervention, safeguarding their role as witnesses to history.

Atelier Deshaus and conversion of the relics of the industrial past: an exhibition in Berlin

Atelier Deshaus, an architectural practice based in Shanghai founded by architects Liu Yichun and Chen Yifeng, has been working on conversion and expansion of abandoned buildings and relics of the industrial past for more than twenty years. This type of project is the subject of the exhibition "Common Landscape. Re-Cultivating Industrial Sites - Atelier Deshaus, Shanghai", at the Aedes Architecture Forum in Berlin from 1 April through 17 May 2023. Seven of the studio’s projects selected for the exhibition are presented through models, plans, photos and videos, with a special focus on projects along Shanghai’s Huangpu River, which becomes the "common thread" running through the exhibition, placing the selected projects in the context of large-scale landscape. Atelier Deshaus’s projects offer examples of how former industrial sites can be transformed into attractive new public places and take on new functions even while maintaining their emotional and cultural ties with the local community.

The exhibition casts light on the studio’s strategy of minimal intervention, as the architects seek to transform the existing buildings without destroying the signs of history present in them. The projects featured in the exhibition include important cultural buildings such as the Long Museum and the Modern Art Museum, both created by converting the infrastructure of old coal harbours. The projects presented reveal how conversion of existing buildings is more important than complete demolition to leave a tabula rasa; the architects’ minimal interventions preserve local landscapes and micro-ecosystems, supporting the diversity of the metropolitan cultural landscape as well as being environmentally sustainable. Formerly abandoned buildings and structures become new cultural landmarks combining historic aspects with new functions and meanings, giving visible form to the social transformations currently under way.

(Agnese Bifulco)

Images courtesy of Atelier Deshaus and Aedes Architecture Forum

Exhibition Title: Common Landscape. Re-Cultivating Industrial Sites - Atelier Deshaus, Shanghai
Exhibition Date: 1 April – 17 May 2023
Venue: Aedes Architecture Forum, Christinenstr. 18–19, 10119 Berlin
Opening Hours: Mon 1–5pm, Tue–Fri 11am–6.30pm, Sunday and public holidays 1–5pm, Saturday 1 April 2023, 1–5pm

Captions and Credits
01-03 Atelier Deshaus Tea House in Li Garden © Tian Fangfang
04-06 Atelier Deshaus Long Museum West Bund. (04,05) © Su Shengliang, (06) © Walter Mair
07-09 Atelier Deshaus Modern Art Museum Shanghai © Tian Fangfang
10-11 Atelier Deshaus Riverside Walkways on Laobaidu Wharf. © Tian Fangfang
12-16 Atelier Deshaus 80,000-ton Silos Art Centre (12-14) © Tian Fangfang, (15-16) © Su Shengliang
17-19 Atelier Deshaus Office on West Bund. © Hao Chen
20-24 Atelier Deshaus Taizhou Contemporary Art Museum © Tian Fangfang
25-29 Atelier Deshaus Upper-Cloister in Jinshan Mountain © Su Shengliang
30 Atelier Deshaus Riverside Passage. © Tian Fangfang


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