Sunac designed by Aedas • Wuhan 1890 — Rebirth of a century-old industrial heritage


Project description

Hanyang Iron Works, located in Hanyang, Wuhan, is perched on the right bank of the Han River at its confluence with the Yangtze (Chang Jiang) River, opposite Hankou. In the early 1900s, Hanyang became the site of China’s first modern steelworks as well as the key arsenal city.

As the backbone of Hubei and Wuhan’s industrial base, Hanyang Iron Works has promoted the rapid development of Hanyang’s armory and Wuhan’s textile industry, forming the basis of Hubei’s industries. Designed with the functions of ironmaking, steelmaking and steel rolling, it has been one of the most influential industrial heritages in China.

Led by Kevin Wang, Global Design Director of Aedas, the Hanyang Iron Works regeneration project focuses on restoring and reviving the development, which was closed in 1947. Combining commercial activities and avant-garde aesthetics , Aedas is transforming it into Sunac• Wuhan 1890, a complex that brings together creative communities and businesses.

“Each city has its own memory and history. The Hanyang Iron Works is a pivotal existence in the modern history of Wuhan. To pay tribute, our priority is to inject new life into these ancient buildings while protecting them. The goal is to showcase a stunning industrial beauty that radiates a rich humanist culture based on ancestry.” said Kevin Wang.

The Sunac • Wuhan 1890 plots, which Aedas is responsible for planning, contain a multitude of industrial sites, including a steel bar factory, an electric furnaces branch and a steel truss warehouse. In light of the rich industrial atmosphere intertwined with weathered red bricks, earthen walls and rusting pipes, the first design principle is to preserve and restore.

Targeting the area in which the most distinctive industrial heritage features are found, the design preserves the historic features and existing elements of the building, while proceeding with restoration and reconstruction. Red bricks and concrete materials are used to restore the original texture, while the existing structure is retained. The roof is renovated with modern materials in reference to the original style, and glass skylights are added to enhance the interior lighting. The metal corrugated panels of the facade are replaced by polycarbonate panels, which makes the exterior more robust. The design retains structures with industrial features such as oxygen generators and dust collection systems, integrating them into the new landscape.

The comeback:
With Beijing-Guangzhou Railway in the south, Jiangcheng Avenue in the east, the development is easy to reach. It is also surrounded by a number of important cultural markers such as Zhang ZhiDong Museum, Heptachord Terrace, Qintai Concert Hall and Qintai Grand Theatre. The design combines industrial culture with contemporary art by introducing creative industries and various commercial entertainments, establishing a new social leisure destination.

The expansive atrium space and landscape steps serve as public social spaces where large-scale events such as fashion shows and art exhibitions can be held. The design divides the interior of the steel bar factory into several business clusters, in which performance spaces are placed to the side with interspersed businesses and retail. It is an ecosystem in its own right, where work-life-entertainment intersect.

“The revival of the old factory building is not only about repairing and renovating the building, but also providing new functions to be incorporated into urban development, making itself an indispensable existence in the lives of citizens.”

In order to achieve a natural integration with the environment, the design uses an open space and transforms it into a central art park.

“New functions allow these ‘old objects’ to be reborn in the present, infusing a unique charm into the development. We have reinvigorated the deserted park, regenerated the memory of the city, creating a cultural icon and a landmark of the city .” said Kevin Wang.

* All features included in this design scheme are subject to government approval and actual delivery.
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