Factory 8 is an existing complex of factory buildings in Guangzhou, comprising two large factory/ warehouse blocks and one smaller administration building. The commission was of particular interest, as the brief requested proposals to remodel the buildings under three quite separate programmes – as a budget hotel, as offices, or as mixed-use live/work units. All three had to be imbued with their own distinctive architectural character.
Due to budget limitations, only inset ‘punched’ window openings were possible for the hotel, whose rooms were distributed around all four sides of the two large blocks, with the circulation and services restricted to a large central core. To ensure the buildings stood out, a concept of ‘moving windows’ was developed, whereby the windows, though aligned vertically, have different widths and are angled gently either to the left or right as they rise up the building, making for a far more lively facade.
The effect was accentuated by varying the height of the roofline around each of the two main buildings and giving them contrasting light and dark backgrounds – all helping to give the hotel its own idiosyncratic character.