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Multi-Function Hall in Central Academy of Fine Arts by Architecture School of CAFA

Designed by Han Wenqiang & Zhao Yang @Architecture School of CAFA

Photos by Jin Weiqi

This multi-function hall is located at the center of the architectural complex of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, and has always been one of the largest single-storey indoor spaces in the academy. Before the renovation, it was a school history museum, but the original interior space was too old to be used for modern teaching. On the occasion of the academy's 100th anniversary in 2018, a series of adjustments were made inside the campus, then this architecture was transformed to a multi-function hall, which is now mainly used as an art exhibition hall for daily teaching, meanwhile, it can be a place to hold different activities, such as large meetings and performances for teachers and students.

The transformation idea is like "space sketch"—on the basis of the existing building spatial relation, the designers used concise forms and simple materials to "paint" the indoor interface, so as to meet the requirement of making it become a ritual and flexible gathering place for teachers and students.

The renovation included the front hall, inner hall, toilet, backstage, office, etc., and the black, white and grey materials gradually changed the spatial sequence in the spaces which have different scales. The front hall was treated as a gray box, and the wall, ceiling and floor were covered with gray granites.

Through the floor glass doors, the indoor and outdoor materials are naturally connected. At the end of the front hall, the three revolving doors in the axis act like screens, which separate the front hall and the inner hall, and reduce the interference of external activities to the inner hall. The rotating doors in the middle are covered with black mirror steels, reflecting the changeable natural landscape on the outside. The designers redesigned the previous toilet area and adjusted its streamline relation to rationalize the function. Mirror walls were added in the front hall to create a variety of visual changes while transiting from the outside to inside.

Entering to the inner hall, the acoustic panels were integrated into a complete and pure white background. The original fixed stage was removed and replaced with an assembled mobile stage so that the entire hall could be used as a flexible display space. The designers used folding boards on some parts of the walls to make a coherent viewing space. The previous doors and windows were also hidden inside the walls. The aluminum grilled ceiling in the inner hall contains lighting, air conditioning, fire fighting and sound equipments, etc., under which some adjustable light poles with intelligent control were installed. The brightness and height of the artificial equipments can be adjusted according to the change of functions.

When the hall is functioning as an exhibition place, the track lighting poles can be lowered to a height of 3 meters to ensure that the lighting can be freely controlled and manually adjusted according to the position of display partitions. When the hall is used for meeting and performance, the light poles can present dynamic changes and create specific atmospheres.

The backstage area is mainly used to display partitions and store movable furniture, and one part of it has been transformed to a VIP lounge whose design continues to use folding wall surfaces. All the facilities and equipments in this renovation were hidden within the complete materials to show a pure and concise spatial view. When this multi-functional place becomes a silent background, the lively and colorful school activities will be further highlighted.

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