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Urban Beautification of an Apartment Loft

SKEW Collaborative created this amazing geometric apartment in Shanghai, China, taking a cue from the idea of “urban beautification” and running with it. The architects re-designed this urban house plan, demolishing the existing flat roof and adding an attic – and with it, extra space, light and that all-important awesome factor. This creative, contemporary style home reminds us of a skeleton, featuring a staircase that is like a spine, with vaulted ceiling panels in a skewed herringbone pattern. The staircase leads up to a cool loft design idea – enclosed in glass, and flooded with natural light. Check it out!

modern geometric apartment loft with beautiful bones 1 thumb autox631 33977 Urban Beautification of an Apartment Loft

modern geometric apartment loft with beautiful bones 2 thumb autox944 33979 Urban Beautification of an Apartment Loft

Shanghai instituted a strategy to bring beauty and personality to the existing urban homes. From the architects, “There was a city-wide policy where pitched tiled roofs were being added to roofs of modern commune housing built in the ’40s to ’50s that were considered devoid of civic or traditional character,” according to the architects. And this apartment got the treatment, both inside and out. The new, traditional exterior is matched by an equally alluring though ultra-modern interior.


Large windows at the front of the home cast light onto the through the interior panels, casting patterns of shadow and light across the walls. The open interior layout enjoys this striking sight in every part of the home.


The modern, edgy staircase leads up to this loft, which is tucked privately upstairs, but still maintains a connection to the rest of the home by virtue of its glass demi wall encircling the central stairwell void.


“The triangulation of the roof plane was extrapolated to give shape to the ceilings, walls and staircase, where each tread and baluster was articulated to mark the ends of these transformative triangle surfaces,” according to the architects. “The rest of the apartment was kept simple; the existing industrial steel windows, wooden flooring and white plaster walls were retained, in anticipation of the unfolding elements from the new attic space.”


What a view!


This cool bathroom is an optical illusion! The use of mirrors really adds an amazing sense of space, and amplifies the natural light. The marble wall and countertop meld into one another, further playing with the perception of lines and space.


“This attic took reference from the vernacular form of the triangular dormer window found in the neighborhood which served as an archetypal form that was rigorously applied to this project – with all of its implications of structure, envelope and geometry,” explain the architects.


Beyond the glass and emerging from the new pitched roof, a patio offers private views overlooking the Shanghai skyline.


Floor plans:




Interior stair detail:


Ceiling framing:


Site plan:


SKEW Collaborative



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