Dabeixiang is located within Meiyuanxincun , part of the Nanjing Historical and Cultural Protection Area. Many important figures lived here during the Republic of China period. The Presidential Palace, the former residence of Zhou Enlai, the old livingquarters of Bai Chongxi, The Museum of the Six Dynasties, and the Jiangsu Provincial Art Museum are all located within 500 meters of the village.
The strong cultural atmosphere hasattracted baristas, artists, photographers and architects to set up their ownstudios in the vicinity. FANAF is located within the village in the Dabeixiang No.7 Courtyard.
Dabeixiang No. 7 consists of three identical structures built in the same style – which formerly servedas the residence of the three Wang brothers, generals in the Nationalist party.Each building has three floors. The French-style buildings feature gambrelroofs, burgundy red window frames, frosted glass windows and dark grey bricksto form its outer appearance. These features reflect the architectural stylescommonly found during the Republic of China era.The renovation projectestablished two single buildings in the east side, with the north and southwings sitting adjacent to each other, naturally creating two surroundingcourtyards, the Northern Yard and Southern Garden.
During the renovation of FANAF’s studio, the designers worked to maintain the structure’s original architecturalstyle and spatial patterns. The traditional residential building was renovated into a modern office environment, highlighted by a simple landscape andinterior. The final prototype encompasses a modern work space and galleryallowing open communication in a relaxed and natural atmosphere.
The first floor of the Northern Yardwas transformed into a library and communication space open to the public. Thedesign expands the southern courtyard and extends the outdoor platform toreveal a comfortable public relaxation area.
The courtyard floor is comprised of different finishes to distinguish the walkway from the outdoor relaxation space. Beautiful species of cherry blossom, wintersweet,osmanthus, pomegranate and eucalyptus trees have been preserved and bloom alongthe courtyard. Natural bamboo floorings and small grey bricks outline the rootsof the trees.
The Southern Garden bridges theentrance of the building and to the Northern Yard Passage, the axisrelationship between the indoor public space and the outdoor leisure space.Folding glass are placed to direct people to the conference room and the café entrance. When the door is fully opened, it acts as a thorough fare out towards the courtyard. The garden can be seen from the inside as well, creatingunison between both spaces. On a summer evening,occupants can be transported to another time, appreciating the gentle swayingof tree branches reflecting on buildings under the bright moon.
Offering a respite from busy urbanlife, the FANAF studio environment provides designers with ample outdoor spacefor recreation and relaxation.During the weekends, designers and artists from surrounding communities often hold exhibitions and social events in the courtyard. The modern design space,paired with the unique traditional atmosphere breathes a new vitality into the community’s historical foundations.