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Alibaba Executive Activity Centre

Alibaba Executive Activity Centre, located in an old factory building in 751 Arts District of Beijing, is the activity, negotiation and communication site for Alibaba Entertainment. The facilities lie in a 3-story old factory building which covers an interior area of approximately 1,600 sqm. The first floor is an open activity space and rest area. The second floor is a half-open conference and reception space plus a small cinema. The third floor is a private executive reception space, representing a transition from openness to privacy. Given the limited day-lighting conditions, creating good interior spaces was critical to the design. In view of the strong Chinese flavor of the Alibaba corporate culture, the essential idea of the project is to build a Chinese-style garden inside an old factory building, which shall inherit both the gene of traditional literati garden and the gene of industrial architecture and contemporary architecture.

Traditional literati gardens in China are normally not so spacious to encompass a great number of landscapes. For this reason, all the sceneries inside the garden, from an artificial hill to a water pool, from a tree to a rock, are always symbols of the immense nature. In this project, the factory is considered as the 'boundary wall' of the garden. Within this limited space, the spatial relationship featured by Chinas traditional literati garden between 'building' and 'courtyard', between 'indoor' and 'outdoor' is established. Inside the 'boundary wall', various functional spaces are inserted to simulate 'buildings' inside the garden; graceful 'courtyards' are designed between 'buildings'. The space, flowing like water between 'buildings' and 'courtyards', blurs the boundary between 'indoor' and 'outdoor', thus satisfying the intention of building a classic garden where the scenery varies with each step.
The project also responds to the old factory building where it is located and the modern times of the project itself. Firstly, modulization and standardization are emphasized in the design as a direct response to the industrial nature. Controlled by a set of 600x600mm grid system, all the design elements, including space, walls, courtyards, furniture, floor pavement, suspended ceiling and structures, etc. are arranged orderly. Standardized architecture and furniture components are used a great deal to facilitate refined control of construction quality as well as to lower the project cost and to improve construction efficiency.
Secondly, aesthetically the contemporary design approach featuring simplicity is applied, which covers the building shape, the courtyard layout, and the furniture decoration. Meanwhile, contemporary material and technologies are used to replace components of the same kind used in traditional buildings, for example, stainless steel wire mesh is used to replace traditional sheer curtain, which, while creating a dim sense, also possesses the metallic lustre with modern sense; inspired by caisson ceilings used in traditional Chinese buildings, a kind of suspended ceiling component possessing both lighting and sound absorption functions has been developed particularly for this project.
Location: Beijing, China
GFA: 1,600 sqm
Client: Alibaba Group
Design Team: Yongzheng Li, Qizhi Li, Nan Yu, Yanfeng Lyu, Teng Jiang, Kai Ma
Design Date: 04/2017 - 06/2017
Construction Date: 06/2017 - 04/2018