MAT office transforms three industrial buildings into a colorful apartment complex in china

MAT office transforms three industrial buildings into a colorful apartment complex in china

situated in a former industrial area of laishan district in china, MAT office has transformed three vacant buildings into an apartment complex for young people. the regeneration project responds to the coastal city site and the new intervention employs the use of bright color on the façade to build a new landmark for the area. the concept behind the design intends to create a shared living experience for young people that merges indoor and outdoor environments.

east perspective, the squares with shadows

image © tang kangshuo



the massing of the complex is split into three volumes, one of which is completely separated from the other two. upon approaching the site, the building is hidden from view due to two rows of lush trees on the north side of the site, however to the east, the plot faces an open green space. MAT office therefore developed the program by considering these surroundings. they made the eastern edge the main elevation of the apartment complex, signalling the main external character of the new architecture. the ground level lobby is also opened to the east and is used as a shared space for public activities.

the entrance

image © tang kangshuo



the original three-story building was limited in depth, therefore in order to provide a larger indoor space, the design team added a new corridor as the circulation route to connect each part of the complex. the exterior wall of the corridor is made from glass bricks, and it forms a quiet courtyard together with the added lobby. on the roof of the original two-story storehouse, there are also some communal spaces for residents, such as dining, kitchen, laundry and fitness. the terrace is also faced to the open green space on the east and is the most popular outdoor space for socialising and leisure activities.

yellow squares

image © tang kangshuo



there are 102 rooms in total, with 5 room types ranging from 5.6 to 7.6 meters deep. each unit is divided into 3 or 4 spaces using modular partitions, which provide the entrance, bathroom, living area, sleeping area and extended workspace.

view from the courtyard to the city

image © tang kangshuo



the frontality of the east elevation is composed of simple squares, but within each one, the angle of the inner wall changes. painted orange and yellow, the varying angles create an interesting visual display of light and shadow depending on the time of day. color is also used on the elevation to provide a contrast between the white volumes and blue coastal sky.

translucent glass bricks from the courtyard

image © tang kangshuo



to the inner courtyard, the façade material is mainly a translucent 200mm-wide square glass brick. during the daytime, the soft light shines into the corridor through the glass bricks, and refracts the shadows of people moving; at night, the orange walls on the corridor and other public spaces are illuminated by artificial lighting, and the faint yellow permeates into the outside, welcoming young people a cozy, home-like atmosphere.

view of the courtyard

image © tang kangshuo

the apartment corridor

image © tang kangshuo

the apartment lobby

image © tang kangshuo

the courtyard at night

image © tang kangshuo

the east façade

image © tang kangshuo

the building against the backdrop of the surrounding city

image © zhang peizhi

aerial view of the building

image © zhang peizhi


ground floor plan




project info:


project name: yantai port apartment

location: laishan district, china

architecture/interior/landscape design: MAT office

lead architect: tang kangshuo, zhang miao

design team: lou yunbin, wu mingyu, zhang shuang, liu huixian

design period: july 2018 – november 2018

completion: april 2019

client: yantai port apartment co.,ltd.

built area: 34,659.79 ft2 (3220 m2)

structure: reinforced concrete, steel structure

material: steel panel, glass brick, fiber cement board, wood fiber board, self-levelling epoxy

photography: tang kangshuo

aerial photography: zhang peizhi


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lynne myers | designboom

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