7. Interior Reuse

Kexian Lu


Environmental design, Shanghai Jiaotong University, China, 2014-2018

Professional Experience:

Spacial design assistant, Wutopia lab, Shanghai, 2017 

Design assistant, HWCD, Shanghai, 2018 

Designer, Office coastline, Shanghai, 2019


Exellent Gradute, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 2018

China Scholarship Council, 2018-2020






Degree Details

School of Architecture

Working in Reuse platform is a great experience. In 2020, the platform works are based on Sheerness Dockyard Church, which is a historic building dated back from 1828 and now remained as a fragmented shell enclosing a peaceful garden. The design process through to it is divided into the first phase of site visiting and historic researches, while the second stage is much more focusing on the scheme proposals and design development.   

The platform for me explores the attitudes and strategies toward the reclamation of the existing building. The questions appear to be like: what are the current ideas and theories to be applied tothe reusing realm? How it coms the understanding relating to the history and context of the site to support the development of the work? What is the attitude and response to the current situation? How do the participants bring up their special findings, professional presentation and creative approaches?   

In my work, I became obsessed with Sheppey’s war history when doing the researches on the fragment of the church and context of the site. In times of war, the island of Sheppey has always been pivotal has proved pivotal as a strategic location for the protection of London, and Chatham Docks. Sheerness docks have provided warship building capacity, as well as a fortified barrier, resistant to invasion. The islands history is formed through its approach to warfare. This project is the latest element in this narrative of attack and defence, and the reuse of the church provides the location for the latest invader in this story: Sheppey war museum.   

By reusing and readapting the historic building as a means of narrative and emotion, the museum is taken into the consideration of gravity and levitation, darkness and light, past and future.  

Historical context — In nowadays, the black areas of war heritages are remained in an almost abandoned way, while the grey parts are already being demolished. I have studied and analyzed different aspects of the war from the dockyard life, through to war and fortification and munition shipping history. All of three themes are going to form the thematic spatial narrative inside of the museum.

Scheme models — To fit in the historical part of the town, and creating a form that may become monumental, I did a few attempts to treat it carefully by adjusting the forma to resemble these war productions.

Plans — And finally it comes the idea of inserting a dynamic entity which responding to the existing building in a way of almost mimicking the language of old bastions, towers, fortifications and so on. Just like the war, the new intervention acting as an invader occupying the existing space in a symbiotic way.

The maps in National Archive showing sheerness as a strategic fortified barrier to protect the land from coastal attacking in military time. During the war time, a serious of old dark concrete towers, bastions and all kinds of relics were built to guard Sheppey islan.It was the war that bring people there and gave birth to the vitality of the land in the later years.
The project finally illustrated a war museum adapted from an antique religious building, which is treated as though permeated by a new invasive force.


1 month
sheerness dockyard


Water yard — The steel is referring to the simple forms and material of the local ship building and major steel industry. Its weathered patina makes it feel iconic and at home in its surroundings, as if it too has endured centuries of the harsh North Sea weather.

Protrusive entrance

Ruin garden — A small ruin garden set in the void between the newly built structure and old ruin.

Invader of various angles — The apparently simple theme of geometries reveals a degree of complexity as the intersecting volume and the articulate muti-aperture facade contribute to its recognized war identity.


The museum is having a protrusive entrance tunnel and a rising dynamic tower symbolize the museum while giving a panoramic and geographic related orientation to the remaining military relics. The cor-ten steel wrapped building has unceremoniously occupied the ruined church, inviting visitors inside in order to explore Sheppey’s story throughout times of war. The structure of the museum combines the corten cladding, reinforced concrete armature, steel skeleton with the interior display frames and racks all together. The apparently simple theme of geometries reveals a degree of complexity as the intersecting and the articulate muti-aperture façade contribute to its recognized war identity.


2 months

A-A section — Once inside the museum unfolds in a journey from the basement to the tower, where models, maps, media and imagery showing Sheppey's war stories since the 15th century.

Inclining corridor — Those interior display elements are all connected by the steel structures, having the lighting systems within those steel beams.

Dockyard model display



Shipping shelf display

Fortifiction theme

The core

Map room

Observation platform

Section B-B

Back view

Visitors enter the building through a long inclined corridor, sliding out between the buildings portico. Once inside the museum unfolds in a journey from the basement to the tower, where fortifications, models, maps and imagery show sheppey's war stories since the 15th century. The interior journey is formed through thematic spaces of Dockyard Life theme at the base, Shipping in the middle, and the Fortification part in the top tower. At the top of the experience, the invader offers views across to the sea and focusses the view on a series of concrete bastions, remaining monuments to the last great war and the structures of resistance that have inspired this project.
It is designed to monumentalise the islands position as an obstinate yet enduring symbol of the communities resilience to attack and their defence. Its inhabitation of the exiting building is designed to reflect the fact that this narrative is not always a comfortable or straight forward story.


3 months
Royal College of Art
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