INTERNI. The Magazine of Interiors and Contemporary Design

AIM | 棉仓 – 激活工业遗产,打造综合社区空间



AIM | Cotton Park – Regenerating Industrial Heritage for Mixed-Use Community Spaces


Photo: Dirk Weiblen




Changzhou, an ancient city with a history of more than 3,000 years, has reached over One Trillion in GDP since 2023. It has transformed into a captivating destination, embracing a more intimate city experience and prioritizing quality over quantity. This community project by Cotton Park is the regeneration of 4 oil tanks – a vision that aligns with our own aspiration to bring urban spaces to life.


Photo: Dirk Weiblen





The four tanks possess a distinctive quality due to their initial purpose, primarily designed to facilitate industrial processes rather than being centered around the human scale.


Photo: Dirk Weiblen


Photo: Dirk Weiblen





During our first site visit, a ray of sunlight gracefully descended from the top of the silos, casting a flawless ellipse of light on the stained walls. At that moment we realized that the essence of the project lays in preserving the tank walls and harnessing the ethereal lighting from above.

This influenced our decision to preserve the existing architecture as much as possible, driven by both sustainability concerns and a respect for the historical heritage of the local industry.


Photo: Dirk Weiblen




We chose to connect the four silos by carving a direct path through their center, curating a captivating journey and enabling visitors to traverse all four tanks with their own distinct program and along the way indulge in a diverse array of experiences.





Photo: Dirk Weiblen




Our goal was to breathe new life into the city and foster community engagement by establishing a place where people could gather. Simultaneously, we aimed to create a versatile place capable of hosting various cultural events and gatherings, enriching the local experience.







Photo: Dirk Weiblen




Next to the steel of the silos, we introduced one other material, inspired by the canal. This material pays homage to the steel barges that transport red bricks, supporting China’s burgeoning developments. Here, these bricks are employed in a straightforward stack, giving rise to a distinct inner realm within the restaurant silo. Adjacent to the curved inner walls, they form pathways for visitors to traverse, providing guidance and grounding the site within its surroundings.


Photo: Dirk Weiblen




One silo is hardly touched and ‘un-programmed’. Letting the light, height, and its original power to do its wonder, making it a pure extension of the park for people to enjoy.


Photo: Dirk Weiblen





Placing a glass house in two of the silos enables visitors to experience the silo’s powerful internal character while creating a comfortable and controllable interior climate.

The opening on the top of the silos creates natural air convection between the silos and the glass house, avoiding internal overheating problems that occur in the summer. 
Strategically integrating the heating and cooling infrastructure into the floors allows us to keep these industrial “churches” free from visible technology.




Photo: Dirk Weiblen




Cutting the skin of the silo provided us with material to cover the walkway, reducing the need for new materials. This connection links tanks with the park, where a circular climbing structure and park-facing terraces enhance community engagement and attraction.



Photo: Dirk Weiblen


设计总监:Wendy Saunders,Vincent de Graaf


效果图:Steve Do,焦琰
软装团队:Lili Cheng,戴维莎
气候顾问:Paul de Vreede
摄影:Dirk Weiblen



Client: Changzhou Cotton Space Retail Co., Ltd.

Location: Cotton Park, Oil Tank Park, Changzhou

GFA: 1,500 sqm

Design Stage: March 2022 – June 2022

Completion: September 2023

Design Scope: Interior design

Design Principals: Wendy Saunders, Vincent de Graaf

Team Leader: Chris Cheng

Design Team: Emilio Wang Chen, Jin Kang, Jo Jiao, Laile Li, Luqian Lin, Zheng Wei

Visualization: Steve Do, Yan Jiao

FF&E Team: Lili Cheng, Weisha Dai

General Contractor: Shanghai Dong Yuan Construction & Renovation Co., Ltd.

Structure Consultant: Bespoke

Climate Consultant: Paul de Vreede

Display Supplier: Yangyu Architectural Construction Co., Ltd.

Lighting Supplier: Shanghai Lemida Lighting Design & Engineering Co., Ltd.

Main Materials: Red brick terrazzo (Shanghai Dianyue Construction Materials Limited), Red clay brick, Stucco, Glass curtain wall, Acoustic panel

Photography: Dirk Weiblen

Translation: Zheng Wei