Beijing, CN


In Shanghai, Crossboundaries turned an abandoned commercial space into a vivid, child-friendly swimming club.

By crossboundaries
Jun 19, '15 6:35 AM EST

In Shanghai, Crossboundaries turned an abandoned commercial space into a vivid, child-friendly swimming club for children aged between 0 to 6 years.

Family Box, an already established children’s facility chain in China, was ambitious to set their first step in metropolitan Shanghai by transforming the space into a dynamic and cheerful play environment for children. The existing premises of 2,100sqm in a residential area was extremely dark and unattractive as the façade cladding covered most of the windows and a chaotic organization of columns, beams and cores was revealed inside. Crossboundaries reorganized the space and created logic to the sequence of experiencing the facility.

From the entrance the visitor can immediately see the dominant green staircase volume, which serves as the prime circulation path between ground floor and the swimming pool as well as the changing rooms upstairs. Following a clear sequence, the parents and children are led from the reception on the ground floor, passing by water-play, open-play and café areas next to the staircase. Each area differentiates from the other by pyramid ceilings and is framed in wood defining the thresholds. A continuous link across the areas is optimized by a color scheme led by a fresh, strong green, used behind perforated panels and at window openings combined with wooden benches.

On the second floor, the corridor adapts to the chaotic cores guiding the visitors toward the swimming pools, with recessed connections to the changing rooms along the way. The green is again applied, in niches along the corridor, combined with a lighter blue and grey base palette throughout. Divided into two, the pool area has a shallow section for beginners and deeper water for swim training, over which three big pyramid ceilings with skylights add height and light to the generic swimming hall that previously existed.



Photos Courtesy of Crossboundaries

Project Facts

Project Name: Family Box, Shanghai

Location: Siping Rd., Shanghai, China

Client: Children Enterprise (UK) Limited Appointment: 2013

Completion: 2015

Interior Design: Crossboundaries

Signage: Crossboundaries

Partners-in-charge: Binke Lenhardt, Dong Hao

Project Designers: Anne-Charlotte Wiklander, Irene Solà, Gao Yang

Collaborating Architect and Engineer: Shanghai Xian Dai Architectural Design Group

About Crossboundaries

Founded in 2005 and organized as an international partnership, Crossboundaries has offices in Beijing, Frankfurt and Berlin. With staff originating from and trained in Asia, Europe and North America we provide unique spatial solutions deriving from local cultural knowledge and transnational expertise.

Crossboundaries contributes to a vital built environment through architecture, environmental design and urban regeneration. We create enduring architecture that often deals with remarkable technical processes, yet always has a pleasant material touch and human atmosphere.

The work of Crossboundaries originates from a strong belief that design as a process results in successful, operational buildings. This approach is based on two fundamental principles: research and collaboration. For our projects we create suitable multi-disciplinary teams where all participants can assess the opportunities within the given conditions. We identify the essential questions, jointly create pragmatic solutions by data collection and analyze significant precedents. We regularly discuss possible programmatic shifts with our clients to raise their benefits of the project. This approach has been proven successful for projects ranging from automotive production to childcare facilities and cultural complexes.


About Family Box

Family Box China is a British facility offering educational and recreational activities for families with children twelve and under. After establishing their first headquarter store in Beijing in 2009, they have now expanded to Shenzhen, Shanghai and Qingdao.