In the Shanghai suburb of Baoshan, Kokaistudios has taken the first step in transforming a 450,000sqm site. Once known for steel production. into a visionary eco-industrial park. Central to the project will be Baosteel’s new waste-to-energy power plant, and around it, a mixed-use landscape comprising wetland areas, a park, museum, and offices. Ahead of construction, Kokaistudios converted one of the site’s few remaining factory buildings into an Exhibition Center, and symbolic gateway to this landmark scheme. Exhibition Center

Designed with the purpose of exhibiting models, drawings, and plans outlining the wider development, the Exhibition Center will welcome an audience of developers, clients, and prospective tenants of the broader scheme. The facility will also play an important educational role through hosting students studying green energy strategies. ¬From an initial brief spanning programming including exhibition spaces and multimedia zones, F&B and VIP areas, a key priority was to build flexibility within the constraints of this preserved structure.

The site was formerly home to Baosteel’s primary steel mill. With a majority of its factory buildings demolished, the Exhibition Center occupies one of only a handful of original structures left on the plot. For Kokaistudios, this presented both an opportunity as well as a responsibility to preserve the project’s significant industrial heritage.

Although long abandoned, the 725sqm building was nonetheless striking thanks to its historic character. Kokaistudios’ design maintains these elements alongside innovative architectural interventions to render it fit for purpose.

Specifically, the firm settled on a lightweight approach: a fully independent polycarbonate envelope positioned within the perimeter of the original structure. Not only does the solution resolve several of the project’s technical issues – waterproofing, for example – the translucent material complements the bulk and weight of preserved piping and rusted machines housed within the inner casing.

Photos: Terrence Zhang