Zhijian Bookstore / SMY DESIGN


© Lu Liao

© Lu Liao
  • Architects: SMY DESIGN
  • Location: Wuling, Changde, Hunan, China
  • Lead Architects: Ningjian Liang
  • Design Team: Xuepeng Jin, Piao Sun, Xinli Li
  • Area: 795.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2017
  • Photographs: Lu Liao

© Lu Liao

© Lu Liao

Text description provided by the architects. The old west gate block was originally where the ancient gates from Ming & Qing dynasty located. Before rebuild , the place was deserted. But now ,it has become an independent block that is a national cultural-innovation complex where the aborigines still live here.


© Lu Liao

© Lu Liao

© Lu Liao

© Lu Liao

The bookstore locates in the middle area of the block and is contiguous to a theater. We think the atmosphere of the bookstore should be quiet and peaceful. We expect it to be like a window for the residents and tourists here to read and think in the independent block. White is the color that implies purifying. So, white became the theme of the bookstore.


© Lu Liao

© Lu Liao

20 meters away from the bookstore, there is a fort relic in the second world war. It was made by pure concrete. The building of the bookstore was original concrete as well. We didn’t do with its concrete texture but put the texture remained as how it is for echoing to the relic. Anyway ,we removed the standardized aluminum window and door on the first floor and replaced it to the big heavy unframed glass. The transparency attracts light completely and lighten the hard part above for monolithic balance.


© Lu Liao

© Lu Liao

The west gate block still keeps the traditional Jinzi house architecture of one thousand years ago. Jinzi house is shaped like a courtyard, mostly there are two districts and layers. Standing inside of the house, high walls are surrounded, the inner structure are pure wood, the ceiling is like a funnel that the four edges goes down to the middle. It becomes a empty well that could absorb sunlight and fresh air from the roof.


© Lu Liao

© Lu Liao

© Lu Liao

© Lu Liao

For echoing and showing our respect to the tradition wisdom, We described the Jinzi house indoors by using wooden structure . Up the ceiling ,there is quadrilateral funnel just like the roof of Jingzi house. This metaphorical roof connects other areas in the bookstore. We made art installation of tilefall by milk white transparent glass , creating an atmosphere of typical Chinese’s Shi Da Fu’s way of living : reading in a rainy night and listen to its knocking sounds onto the palm -leave fan. ( This scenery appears often in Chinese Tang poetry)


© Lu Liao

© Lu Liao

While white is the bottom color and theme, the historical and local cultural tradition is presented indoors.


© Lu Liao

© Lu Liao

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