It’s fitting, for a studio so thoughtful about adapting existing space to suit a client’s need, that the Beijing-based B.L.U.E. Architecture Studio owes its very existence to a chance encounter. “After graduating from Tsinghua University, I didn’t plan to start [my practice]," co-founder Shuhei Aoyama says. "However, one day I accidentally saw the space of the current studio. The location was very good, the view out the window was very beautiful, and I really wanted to have a small space of my own here. Then I started the studio.” Three years later, Aoyama and co-founder Yoko Fujii have brought a focus on urban physics to retail, office, urban renewal, and experimental lifestyle studies in Beijing, Shanghai, Kyoto, Shanxi, Shandong, Yunnan, and the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. Check out three standout projects by the firm below.
1. Project: OTA Fine Arts Gallery
Size: 5,700 square feet
Site: West Bund Culture & Art Pilot Zone, Shanghai
Standout: Four blocks comprising six cubes, made of various colors of brick that reference traditional Shanghai building materials, feature different sizes of windows that create variations in natural light.
2. Project: Elite English Training School
Size: 3,000 square feet
Standout: Five boxes form classrooms in oak, walnut, cement board, brick, and galvanized steel that are surrounded by common spaces.
3. Project: L-Shaped House
Size: 463 square feet
Site: Dengshikou, Beijing
Standout: B.L.U.E. carved out a compact two-floor space for a family of six next to a Hutong wall in the historical center of Beijing, with an exterior corridor that runs the length of the residence.