Lafayette 148 Building, Guangdong Development, Shantou Design, Fashion Project

Lafayette 148, Shantou

Guangdong Province Building, China design by Studio for Architecture

9 Nov 2010

Lafayette 148

Photos: But-Sou Lai

Architects: Studio for Architecture

Lafayette 148 Lafayette 148 Shantou Lafayette 148 Guangdong

Lafayette 148 in Shantou

Studio for Architecture, Mehrdad Hadighi, collaboration with Tsz Yan Ng, with Christopher Romano

Politics/Concept: China is arguably responsible for the proliferation of the low-cost industrially manufactured object throughout the world. So, when Studio for Architecture were asked to design a building in Shantou, China, as the headquarters of a NY based fashion design company, the issue of human labor in relation to industrially manufactured objects was paramount. Studio for Architecture decided that it was important to make a building that took shape from human labor, rather than a building whose primary vocabulary was assembled from industrially manufactured components.

To that end, the architects decided to utilize concrete as the primary material of building. Most large buildings in China are made of concrete, so there is nothing revolutionary in this proposal. Except that all concrete work is of very low grade and therefore covered in tiles, stone, or aluminum panels.

Studio for Architecture decided to take on this issue as the critical edge: concrete would always be left visible, and most importantly, the architects would push the methods of forming concrete to an extreme – of technical expertise and labor intensity.

Lafayette 148 Lafayette 148 Shantou Lafayette 148 Guangdong


The challenge for the architecture office was to form forty 400’-long sun-shading fins that are horizontally contiguous on the south, east and west façades of an eleven-story building. Adding complexity to this effort was our decision to make the fins in concrete, manually mixed and poured without the use of mixing trucks, concrete pumps, construction cranes, or off-site assemblies.

In the spirit of the textile industry, the architects configured a textile-like, woven concrete façade that is responsible for light modulation, shading and ventilation. There are a series of chimneys that have been carved out of the building, promoting upward air-flow , general ventilation, while bringing light to the core of the building.

Precedents: Le Corbusier’s concrete work in various parts of the world employing ‘low’ technology served as a precedent. In addition his sensitivity to climatic issues became a goal. On the other hand contemporary formal and aesthetic discoveries that are the result of industrialized processes, visible, for example, in Herzog and De Meuron’s Basel rail switching station, served as another point of departure.

Lafayette 148 Lafayette 148 Shantou Lafayette 148 Guangdong

Client/Program: Our client, Lafayette 148, is a New York based clothing designer and producer. They had moved most of their manufacturing to Shantou, China, while maintaining some manufacturing, the design facilities, sample production, and the showroom in New York City. They commissioned us to design their headquarter building in Shantou, within an urban, industrial zone, to accommodate all of their different programmatic needs. The building incorporates the design studios, showroom, sample production, apartments with exercise facilities, administrative offices, and the factory.

Factory: Our programmatic goal was to make an open, un-interrupted, well-lit, well ventilated work space. The factory floor was the focus, and the aim was to accommodate the factory workers in the best possible way. The program of the factory is very complex, and the spatial relationships are key to the operation of the factory.

It involves the flow of goods pre and post-production and the coordination between the design process and sequence of production. From design studio, patterning department, first sample, fabric warehouse, cutting department, sewing department, pressing, storage and shipping is a linear process that is interrupted and complicated by knitting, embroidery, beading, and dying, with all of their respective delivery, storage, and independent access.

Lafayette 148 Lafayette 148 Shantou Lafayette 148 Guangdong

Lafayette 148 Shantou – Building Information

Location: Shantou, China (Guangdong Province) A port city of the South China Sea with population of 3.8 million. (NE of and approximately 1 hr by flight from Hong Kong.)

Site: NE corner intersection within an urban commercial center of an industrial/manufacturing city in China. Surrounding context of the district is a mixed urban condition with adjacency to public governmental agencies, office towers, shopping centers, and housing/recreational facilities.

Zoning: Industrial/Light manufacturing. Buildable Area of 26m (85’) X 89m (292’). Max. height restriction of 45m (148’). Seismic Zone

Type of Client: Lafayette 148, a New York-based privately owned clothing design, manufacturing, and distribution company.

Program: Mixed-Use. Predominately manufacturing with offices, design facilities, showrooms, fashion runways, short-term residence and accompanying amenities. Construction Horizontally and vertically post-tensioned site-cast concrete.

Funding: Privately funded

Total area 21,020.0 m2 (226,257 SF), 11 stories above grade

Lafayette 148 Lafayette 148 Shantou Lafayette 148 Guangdong

Lafayette 148 Shantou images / information from Studio for Architecture

Location: Shantou, China

China Architecture

China Architecture Design – chronological list

Chinese Architect – Design Practice Listings

Chinese Buildings – Selection:

Wormhole Library, Haikou, Hainan Province
Design: MAD Architects
Wormhole Library Haikou Building
image courtesy of architects
Wormhole Library

Jilin Financial Centre Commercial Complex, Jilin Province
Architects: Aedas
Jilin Financial Centre Commercial Complex
image courtesy of architects office
Jilin Financial Centre Commercial Complex Building

Birds Nest Beijing

Water Cube Beijing

Comments / photos for the Lafayette 148 Shantou Building design by Studio for Architecture page welcome