Shanghai-based Atelier Deshaus, founded in 2001 as one of the first private architectural firms in China, is one of the country’s most important and innovative design studios. The architects made their name worldwide in 2014 with the much-acclaimed West Bund site for Shanghai’s Long Museum, which has since been followed by a series of further museum and other art-related projects. Such cultural and community buildings of various scale are the main focus of Atelier Deshaus, who refuse the usual commercial construction tasks in China. Their formally strong buildings are developed from reading the site with special attention being paid to the preservation of Shanghai's industrial heritage after decades of a tabula rasa policy in the city’s urban development.
At the core of this first monograph are Atelier Deshaus’s 20 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 an extensive conversation with Hubertus Adam, the firm’s principals Liu Yichun and Chen Yifeng offer insights 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 place Atelier Deshaus in the context of contemporary international architecture and discuss their key projects with regard to constructive qualities and atmosphere.