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Tsuen Wan, a former industrial centre of Hong Kong, had witnessed the dwindling of its textile industry since the 1970's. The Maykong Godwon, unlike its counterparts in Tsuen Wan which were either reconstructed as commercial buildings or housings as a part of urban redevelopment, remains abandoned for more than 45 years.
The low-rise brick building stands out from its neighbouring towers, especially when the city is completely obsessed with concrete construction and curtain wall system as an adherent of the International Style. Although being a misfit in the concrete jungle, the red bricks inherited from the late Art and Craft influence embellishes the cityscape. Stripes of brickwork also demonstrates a Modernist aesthetic. However, weathering and graffiti have blemished the features due to the lack of management.
The architectural values are preserved with an attempt to rejuvenate the 60-year-old building by reusing its structure as a sports centre. Sports nowadays are no longer solely competitive events but more of training and leisurely nature. Complete and professional sets of facilities are not a necessity. Diverse and flexible spaces that cooperate in small group exercises takes the trend. In light of the change in sport habits and patterns, sports centres can live in not only large-span hall but medium-span industry building, creating opportunity for a novel typology of sports centre.
The sports centre in the godown is designed to reflect the high density of the city and recall the chaotic scenario of the warehouse in the old days. Sport rooms are fitted into the 7m x 7m module from the original building structure grid. These sport volumes are stacked, packed together or interspersed within the structural array. Meanwhile, a joggling track is flexibly woven between the dense vertical columns and bonds every individual volume. Running in-between the raw concrete columns and sport boxes provokes the experience of going through the cramped storage during the golden age of the garment industry, where piled up textile products were jostled to make way for passage. The story is brought back to its settings but translated into a layout for physical activities.
The alley beside the godown, previously the loading/ unloading area for cargos, is roofed for an inviting entrance. It provides a foyer for runners and exercisers to gather and begin their journey with a sun-litted atrium, contrasting the industrial-style main building. By perforating the interface of the extension and original building with the running path and stair, porosity is introduced to facilitate the circulation between the 2 spaces of distinct spatial qualities. Transparency is also enhanced on the exterior facade when the solid metal panels between the brick stripes are removed and replaced by glazing. The solid-void relationship and rhythm are further articulated, manifesting the original architectural characteristics. The glasses also promote the inside-outside linkage when the dynamic indoor becomes conspicuous from the street.
The Sports Centre in Godown redefines the body cultural space for the neighbouring communities, filling the derelict warehouse with energy and making it an "industrious" place again.
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