Shanghai-based Atelier Deshaus, founded in 2001 as one of the first private architectural firms in China, ranks among the country's most important and innovative design studios. The architects made a name for themselves worldwide in 2014 with the much-acclaimed West Bund site for Shanghai's Long Museum, which they followed up with a series of further museum and other art-related projects. Cultural and community buildings of various scale are the main focus of Atelier Deshaus, who deliberately eschew the usual commercial construction tasks to be found in China. After decades of a tabula rasa policy in the city's urban development, the firm's formally strong buildings are developed from a careful reading of each site with special attention given to the preservation of Shanghai's industrial heritage.
At the core of this first monograph are Atelier Deshaus' twenty most important designs from two decades. They are documented in rich detail through plans and images as well as concise explanatory texts by the architects. In a wide-ranging conversation with Hubertus Adam, the firm's principals Liu Yichun and Chen Yifeng offer insight into their way of thinking, their understanding of Chinese tradition, their relation to art, and the challenges of working as a non-governmental office in China. Additional essays situate Atelier Deshaus within the context of contemporary international architecture and discuss its key projects with regard to questions of constructive quality and atmosphere.