Garden as Before – Gallery and Studio of WYS


Gallery and Studio of WYS is a renovation project designed for the famous Chinese traditional artist Wu Yueshi. The original building in Beijing was an unfinished village house located on a former factory site. The developer wanted to transform the old factory to a new artists’ area, but the new home studios they began building were ‘too new and too modern’ to satisfy the mental needs of artists. So they were never finished. The strategy for the home studio of Wu Yueshi was not to renovate ‘old’ to ‘new’, but to make ‘new’ seem ‘old’ – to build a garden as before, to bring the lasting Chinese spirit and context back to modern city life.

The original building consisted of a basement and two above-ground levels. The basement was thought of as a ‘sunken garden’ – a quiet exhibition space set into the ground. The ground floor was imagined as a ‘wandering garden’ – a space for creating and receiving visitors, allowing for communication between host and guests. The second floor implied a tranquil place floating above the mortal life, and was imagined as a ‘floating garden’. 

officePROJECT realised that art is not only about the production process; it is important to communicate the three phases of ‘think, express and exhibit’. So they created a double-height space linking the basement and ground floor for use as a lecture room. Another double-height space from the first floor to the second floor serves as a courtyard. Half outdoors and half indoors, it was named the ‘wind yard’. 

In horizontal and vertical terms, the lecture room and the wind yard penetrate and connect with each other, resulting in a building of three layers that cut through also overlap each other. officePROJECT refer to it as ‘triple garden’ – a communication generator and a spatial configuration that offers changing relationships. They consider this to be an ideal art mechanism. Say the architects, “With a changing spatial experience, our awareness of the outer world begins to fade and we are guided by our body into a palace of art.”

Photography: Haiting Sun