Old 42sqm Ballroom in a Grand House in Shanghai Converted into a Compact Apartment by Atelier tao+c | Yellowtrace

Old 42sqm Ballroom in a Grand House in Shanghai Converted into a Compact Apartment by Atelier tao+c | Yellowtrace

Old 42sqm Ballroom in a Grand House in Shanghai Converted into a Compact Apartment by Atelier tao+c | Yellowtrace

Old 42sqm Ballroom in a Grand House in Shanghai Converted into a Compact Apartment by Atelier tao+c | Yellowtrace

Old 42sqm Ballroom in a Grand House in Shanghai Converted into a Compact Apartment by Atelier tao+c | Yellowtrace

Old 42sqm Ballroom in a Grand House in Shanghai Converted into a Compact Apartment by Atelier tao+c | Yellowtrace

 

When we think of a single room apartment, a dim lit cramped studio in an old walk-up building is a stereotype that unavoidably springs to mind. When the one room you’re starting with happens to be an ex-grand ballroom, however, things can turn out a little differently.

Case in point, this 42sqm apartment sits on the ground floor of what was a 1930’s French Concession manor in Shanghai. The property has a history of single-room living; originally occupied by a bourgeois family, after which it was distributed and used as a multi-family residence. Each family occupied one room, sharing common kitchen and bathrooms. A couple lived in the ballroom for decades and moved out when they were elderly, so Atelier tao+c reworked the space for a young couple to move in.

The architects utilized every inch of the room with a savvy approach, inserting a detached composite piece of multifunctional ‘furniture’ that determines nooks and areas for kitchen, dining, bathroom, and bedroom. Made of maple plywood, the layered composition spans the depth of the room to form the only internal structure. Replete with thoughtful built-in bookshelves, steps, and storage units, it negates the need for much other furniture or additional clutter.

 

Related: So Hot Right Now // Living Large in Small Spaces.

 

Old 42sqm Ballroom in a Grand House in Shanghai Converted into a Compact Apartment by Atelier tao+c | Yellowtrace

Old 42sqm Ballroom in a Grand House in Shanghai Converted into a Compact Apartment by Atelier tao+c | Yellowtrace

Old 42sqm Ballroom in a Grand House in Shanghai Converted into a Compact Apartment by Atelier tao+c | Yellowtrace

Old 42sqm Ballroom in a Grand House in Shanghai Converted into a Compact Apartment by Atelier tao+c | Yellowtrace

Old 42sqm Ballroom in a Grand House in Shanghai Converted into a Compact Apartment by Atelier tao+c | Yellowtrace

 

A full height bow window curves around the back garden-facing wall, allowing natural light to penetrate the length of the space thanks to an intentional lack of partition walls. The top of the plywood structure forms a loft level housing bedroom and study, with an embedded mattress and built-in corner desk. In addition to stairs constructed as part of the plywood form, a playful blue ladder drops from the study to the kitchen. The space above the front door is left open, creating a full-height foyer and enhancing dialogue between the two levels.

The ground floor is paved with red brick tiles commonly used in parks across Shanghai, extending the apartment’s garden outlook to the interior. The same pale blue that paints the interior ladder is used for the exterior metal window frames, connecting the history and origin of the space with its contemporary function.

The project pushes the boundaries of single-room living, and explores the potential of updating outdated homes for a new generation of inhabitants in Shanghai.

 

 


[Images courtesy of Atelier tao+c. Photography by Fangfang Tian.]

 

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