January 5, 2016

Living Room by Octave: 2015 BoY Winner for Communal Space

China’s commercial capital is, in a sense, the world’s largest adaptive reuse challenge. With the cityscape transforming at an unprecedented rate, the old can survive only by serving the new—as proved by a cluster of 1950’s buildings. Interior Design Hall of Fame members Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown have combined the four structures into a three-story, 21,500-square-foot center providing children’s educational programs and health and family services in a variety of private and shared spaces.

Octave Center by Tsao & McKown Architects. Photography by Seth Powers/Octave.

A restaurant and bar, supplied in part by a rooftop farm, nourish the body. A maple-floored yoga studio with crisscrossing roof beams offers the chance to pause, stretch, and reflect. Respect for humble materials is apparent in pendant fixtures’ shades wrapped in handwoven burlap, sourced at a flea market, and the fieldstone of the fireplace.


Adventurous Wellness-Focused Buildings Take Shape

Tsao & McKown Designs a Berkshires House for Friends

“Everything fosters communality among users,” Tsao says. That’s his goal not only as an architect but also in his new role as the creative director of Octave, the socially conscious real-estate concern that developed this center. He and his brother founded the company to create walkable, mixed-use alternatives to China’s rampant urbanization. Next up, scheduled to open in 2016 in Suzhou, is the Sangha, a lakeside enclave mixing hospitality with residences, a greenmarket, and a medical clinic.

Project Team: Richard Rhodes; Justin Scurlock.

> See more from the December 2015 issue of Interior Design

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