Superimpose Architecture creates a conference center based on a Victorian arcade


Superimpose Architecture used a traditional shopping arcade typology to transform the dark basement of a retail development in Hangzhou, China into The Arcade conference center.

Designed to appeal to young audiences, The Arcade is an underground space consisting of a wide L-shaped corridor lined with meeting rooms, a café, a lobby and an auditorium.

The Arcade is an underground conference center that was designed by Superimpose Architecture

Inserted between structural concrete columns, the spaces have white facades that look like storefronts.

When designing the center, Superimpose Architecture, based in Rotterdam and Beijing, was inspired by the design of traditional shopping arcades that were popular in Europe from the 18th to 20th centuries.

Interior image of the different workspaces in the conference center
Wide L-shaped hallways are lined with work and social facilities

Victorian arcades usually connected two busy streets and were lined on both sides with shops sitting under a series of arches supported by a colonnade.

Lit by daylight channeled through glass skylights, the shopping arcades served as protected indoor shopping environments and social gathering spaces.

To combat the lack of natural light in The Arcade conference center, Superimpose Architecture inserted two long linear “floating” acrylic ceiling boxes that mimic the color and intensity of natural light along the ceiling of its two hallways. main.

“The light boxes have an immediate visual impact in the basement and serve as a clear indicator for traffic flow,” said Superimpose Architecture. “Both axes can also be used as an exhibition space.”

Each conference room was given a distinct character through the use of different colors, fixtures and materials.

Interior image of an auditorium with red carpet
Acrylic ceiling boxes mimic natural daylight

Seating in the large auditorium is arranged in a semi-circle that runs the length of the space to create a forum-like setting.

Linear light boxes follow the seating layout, while wooden louvers and red carpeting help improve acoustics and add warmth. The facade of the auditorium can be fully opened, allowing the room to expand and become part of the entrance area for events.

Other underground office interiors include this silver office extension in Munich and an office in London with a “talking easy” style basement.


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