The reconstruction of a rural landmark turns a chimney into a belvedere

A new botanic art centre in northern China by Interval Architects is modelled on the volumes of a pre-existing kiln, opening them towards the surrounding landscape.

Interval Architects, Tower of Bricks, Hengshui, China, 2018

Near the city of Hengshui, an ancient brick kiln was an iconic landmark – the only construction in a flat wetland area, from which its high chimney stood out – but also the main cause of its environment’s heavy pollution. The closure of the plant and the demolition of its crumbling structures were the essential conditions to transform the marsh into a natural park and to make it accessible to the public.

Commissioned to design the new botanic art centre, which will welcome the visitors entering the reserve, Interval Architects recreate the volumes of the industrial architecture, but they radically rethink its functioning.

The building’s unbreakable shell opens up to its surroundings: the vaulted ring-shaped room, where the sequence of production steps took place, is rebuilt but several new patios define a new form of continuity with the outside; the chimney is transformed into a belvedere, provided with three terraces at different heights; to conclude, thanks to the use of different brick patterns, the solid clay monolith features beautiful transparencies and chiaroscuro.

Even though it does not actually intervenes on an existing structure, Interval Architects’ project witnesses – if proofs were still needed – of the major advancements in Chinese architectural cultural on the crucial topic of the link to the country’s built heritage. 

Interval Architects, Tower of Bricks, Hengshui, China, 2018
Interval Architects, Tower of Bricks, Hengshui, China, 2018
Tower of Bricks
botanic art center
Hengshui, China
Interval Architects
Oscar Ko, Yunduan Gu
Oscar Ko, Yunduan Gu, Zexing Yue, Xianmei Hu, Jing Chen, Jin Huang
Hengshui Botanic Park
2,065 sqm

Latest on Architecture

Latest on Domus

Read more
China Germany India Mexico, Central America and Caribbean Sri Lanka Korea icon-camera close icon-comments icon-down-sm icon-download icon-facebook icon-heart icon-heart icon-next-sm icon-next icon-pinterest icon-play icon-plus icon-prev-sm icon-prev Search icon-twitter icon-views icon-instagram