‚Changchun 1948’ is the commercial part of a bigger, 25ha mixed-use development, halfway between the airport and the downtown area of Changchun.
The name refers to the former Changchun diesel engine factory built in 1948 at the same place which closed its gates in 2010. The site has been transformed into a high-end mixed-use area comprising a residential compound and a commercial area which marries dining, entertainment, retail and offices.
Seeing the industrial heritage of the past as a chance to form attractive, creative, innovative spaces, is still not much developed in China. Singular and successful attempts in the biggest cities, Shanghai and Beijing, are exceptions. In Changchun, RhineScheme made a variety of proposals in the form of feasibility studies and business/usage concepts of how to keep and integrate a suitable amount of the old factory halls and revive them with new functions.
Some of the iconic factory buildings as well as typical, unique, sometimes peculiar industrial relics of the past have been seamlessly integrated. A number of fascinating artefacts found in situ have been transformed into artistic sculptures. In the same way landscape elements – mainly the immense rows of big trees having grown on the plot for over 60 years – could be preserved and become part of the new ‘commercial landscape’. Even if a complete conservation of the old building structures was not always possible, brick materials have been re-used extensively in facades and pavements, and great efforts have been made in reshaping buildings that resemble the local findings.
This exceptional commercial area is tailored to local culture and conditions and also to Changchun’s specific urban planning history with Russian influence.
The project is an outstanding case study and one of the early examples in China transforming an abandoned industrial site into a successful mixed-use area. Especially in the evening and night hours ‘Changchun 1948’ unfolds a special charm and magic atmosphere.