The "Triple Layer Table" in Nafu Hutong Courtyard No.13 /PMA (PolyMorphArchitects)
-An extremely changeable office space bringing urban design into the interior
The "Triple Layer Table" Project, a new office designed by PMA (PolyMorphArchitects) for themselves, is located in Beijing Institute of Metallurgical Equipment Automation, Nafu Hutong Courtyard No.13, 2nd Ring, Dongcheng District, Beijing. The project is well located with several cultural sites nearby, including the lamasery of Songzhu Temple and Zhizhu Temple, Huangchenggen Ruins Park, South Luogu Lane, Jingshan Park and Yuhe Relic Site. In the Qing Dynasty, during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, it was called Neifu Street. In the early years of the Republic of China, it was renamed by Jing Zhao Yin as the homophonic "Nafu", a name implies auspicious meaning. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, in 1956, Beijing Copper Wire Factory was established in Nafu Hutong Courtyard No.13, and in 1978, Beijing Institute of Metallurgical Equipment Automation was established here. The overall architectural style in this yard is of a typical red-brick factory building, including the north and south buildings in the main yard, and the subsidiary building in the south yard. The project is located on the first floor of the north building, covering an area of 500 square meters. The interior is spacious, with a height of 3.75 meters and a column grid of 6×6 meters. The existing frame structure provides a good foundation for the later renovation. The new office space is designed for use by PMA+Plasma studio and the West- East Crossboundry Design Research Center.
项目区位图 Project location map
改造前照片 Before renovation
办公室所在的院子 The courtyard where the office is located © 瞿平山 Pingshan Qu
改造后的办公室轴测图 Axonometric drawing of the office after renovation
An office space for inspiration to grow freely
The open office design mainly aims to preserve the traces of industrial architecture and avoid excessive colors and decorations. In this information overload age, people, actively or passively, receive excess information through various channels every day. A calm and free space may better give designers the soil to cultivate inspiration. The floor of open office area is recovered by self-leveling concrete. In addition to the simple treatment of existing structural columns, there is no unnecessary decoration. The original mottled texture of the roof is deliberately retained, which naturally highlights the original industrial attributes of the building. The full-height bookshelves and full-display cork walls guide the focus of sight, and the open workbench at the end of the corridor provides space for designers to discuss and make models freely.
开放的办公区域 Open office space © 赵俊 Jun Zhao
办公室局部 A corner of the office © 赵俊 Jun Zhao
办公室的模型摆放区 Model display area in the office © 陈佳婧 Jiajing Chen
Relaxing open kitchen and outdoor courtyard
The kitchen space, originally a material storage room of the copper wire factory, sandwiched between the building's northern exterior wall and a lane just two meters apart, was an addition to the main building. Strategically, we retained half of the added part and partially opened the interior partition to form an open kitchen, while the other half was removed to form a small outdoor yard. The use of weatherproof steel plates and fair-faced concrete throughout the kitchen area evokes a historical impression of old industrial buildings. Two large skylights are added to the refurbished roof to compensate daylight on the north side. Steel plates are also installed on the windowsill connecting the interior and the kitchen, making it a temporary drinking bar. In addition, we gave up the conventional prefabricated integral kitchen, with the originally designed polygonal hand washing sinks balancing functionality with style. In the yard created after removing the roof, the ground is paved with red bricks like the facade of the building and planted with discarded phoenix tree branches from the hutong. Designers can rest here after work and feel the hustle and bustle of daily life in the alley. It is like a connector between the old industrial building and the hutong.
厨房空间 Kitchen space © 赵俊 Jun Zhao
多边形洗手池 Polygonal hand washing sinks © 赵俊 Jun Zhao
室外小院一角 A corner of the yard © 瞿平山 Pingshan Qu
Extremely changeable "Triple Layer Table" multi-functional space
Since the whole space is designed for three closely related teams with their own specific use needs, it is critical to realize the composite use of multiple functions in a limited space. Based on this requirement, "Triple Layer Table" multi-functional space has become the core of the whole design. The multi-functional space is separated from the open office space by two 3-meter-high glass sliding partitions, and three full-height rotating doors are set under the middle beam, so that the multi-functional space can be separated into two relatively independent spaces when necessary. At the same time, we no longer just stay indoors in the design discussion, but bring in PMA's long-standing thinking on mixed land use in Landscape Urbanism and combinatory city, using changeable space to meet the multi-functional needs in the modern urbanization process. A series of different spatial combination forms map three major types of urban functions: office, business and residence.
“三重桌”拆解图 Exploded axonometric drawing of the "Triple Layer Table"
“三重桌”使用场景 Usage scenarios of the Triple Layer Table
The "Triple Layer Table" mainly consists of 3 parts physically: the core table top made of glass, the large circular table top made of wood on the outside, and the table legs that can slide along the tracks, which also constitute the 3 main usage scenarios:
The core table top made of glass – Office
The tempered glass table top in the middle mainly carries the daily routine of the design studio such as drawing, group discussion and model making. The office function is also the most common usage of this space.
The large circular wood table top on the outside – Commerce
After adjusting the circular wood table top to an appropriate height through suspension cables, it can provide a suitable space for activities such as meetings, design reviews and seminars. For large events that require more people to participate in, the three-sided rotating partition doors between the conference room and the multi-function room can be opened to connect the two spaces.
Table legs that can slide along the tracks – Leisure
The legs are designed as cuboids with wheels, which are not only the supporting components of the table, but also can be used as a booth after the rise of the table top. They also have hidden storage spaces inside for easy storage. During exhibitions and parties, the glass table top raised in the air can be used as a core booth or wine rack. At weekends or after work, sports and leisure activities such as table tennis， badminton and yoga are available here with light tables or nets.
从办公区看“三重桌”多功能空间 The "Triple Layer Table" multi-functional space seen from the office area © 赵俊 Jun Zhao
三面旋转的墙体保证了空间联通的可能性 The three rotating wall ensures the possibility of spatial connection © 赵俊 Jun Zhao
桌面升起可提供开敞空间，将会议室转换为活动室 The raised table tops provide a wide space that transforms the meeting room into an activity room © 赵俊 Jun Zhao
Architects worked closely with engineers on the mechanical design of the “Triple Layer Table”. The entire mechanism of the Triple Layer Table is fixed on a set of #-shaped steel beams, with the main steel beams fixed to the building structure beams by corbels. The device is powered by 2 1.2 kw electric wire hoist, each corresponding to 4 special position pulleys, and a well-designed pulley block can independently guide the lifting of the 2 table tops. To minimize the visual impact brought by the hoist rope, after experimenting with a variety of materials, we chose a galvanized wire with a diameter of only 2mm. In addition, how to maintain the tension of the wire rope is a key issue. Wire rope has the advantages of high strength, good toughness and small diameter, but due to the internal tension of the material itself, it is easy to go out of the hoist block when lack of external pressure. Finally, we designed a special set of devices that utilize the interaction of spring and counter weight to maintain the tension of the wire rope continuously, and combined it with the detachable device hidden under the table top to make the mechanical device of the Triple Layer Table detachable at any time and minimize its visual impact on users.
“三重桌”装置工程图 "Triple Layer Table" installation engineering drawing
Project name：The "Triple Layer Table" in Nafu Hutong Courtyard 13 /PMA (PolyMorphArchitects)
Client: Beijing Institute of Metallurgical Equipment Automation
Typology: Office, Industrial Plant Renovation
Building Area: 500 m²
Architect: PMA (PolyMorphArchitects)
Principal in Charge: Chuan Wang
Project Team: Yiran Xu, Zeyu Liu, Ziqi Pan, Yiwen Liu, Xiaoyu Zhang, Marco Dambrogio, Yuting Wang, Xueqi Chen
Mechanical Engineering: Beijing Tianheng Kairui Hoisting Machinery co. LTD
Contractors: Beijing Dongfu Tianxia Decoration co. LTD
Photography: Jun Zhao, Pingshan Qu, Jiajing Chen
Video: Andrea Cadioli