Text description provided by the architects: When someone mentioned about bookstore, the images would diverge into two sides. On the one side, I saw tall reading hall in the old library, with scent of molded paper and shelves in rows, somehow like a graveyard of books. On the other side, I saw crowded commercial center, those hustling and bustling highland with great mixture of new modern art.
They are serious, showing respect for the past. They are bizarre and motley, embracing the present fashion. What about the future? If there is a bookstore facing the future, what kind of quality can it present? In Guli, Changshu, Jiangsu Province, a place of Jiangnan water town, Mur Mur Lab got a precious chance. Everything that happened, is the prologue. Standing on the coordinate axis of the future, everything becomes the status of to be finished.
What is the completion of a plant? Blooming? Fruiting? Budding? Or everything decaying into fertilizer. There seemed to be no determined definition of state of finish. When faced with the uncertainty, we decided to go from the “small”. Immortal, magnificent and permanent, these are the aesthetic paragon that we are familiar with.
Starting from the small is going against these concept. It may have nothing to do with prosperity, gigantic woods and great mountains, but to relate to the concept of tininess, concealing, uncertainty and transiency. Things are subtle while momentary. It is hard to catch the flicks of daily life. As we always say, everything comes from our eyes. Time will fill everything up, and the future will be existing in the blankness.
Therefore, Future Bookstore focus on the inspiration from the undetermined, hiding, and impermanence. However, it appears to be so sure, clear and grand that we need to clarify its starting point of tininess by our words. The completion of the project doesn’t mean it is the end. Under the frame of uncertainty, there are many possibilities await to happen.
The bookstore hides in a resident area of a water town. Its neighbour is the Tieqintongjian Pagoda with history over 200 years, one of the private book collection house of Qing Dynasty. Such special context mixed up those blurry memory of spatial experience, the south of the city, old houses, childhood in Qingzhuangyuan Lane. These memories became important analogy in the design process. We didn’t attempt to create a whole brand new possibility. Imagination was triggered by the memories and experience.
Under the old roof structure, there hides another new roof. They share similar logic of form, the ridge, the inner and outer cornice and clear volume of two slopes. Besides the comparability, it seemed to be completely unacquainted. Leaving the obvious outline of geometrical rules behind, the new roof composed a flow of curve together with the river outside. The eave is going up and down, some are like a welcoming gesture, while some are like a protection screen. There is only a layer of gauze in between the inside and outside of the roof, blurring the boundaries.
Bookstore is the container of the book, or the container of people? In the future, it is not clearly defined. The circulation is designed to connect books and people together. There may have no books, the way of obtaining knowledge change from real book into more versatile information media. There may even exist no people. The space itself will tell the story, in an old, silent, monologue way of sensing and feeling.
The space itself is the container of the behavior. Can it hold new possibility of behavior when we scale it down and put it on the table. The pitched roof means protection when it is put upright. However when it is placed conversely, it means holding something up. It protects people when it is a roof. what can it hold when it is in another placement.
In this third piece of Architectural Container — Architecture Incense Pedestal, we continued the interesting discussion about scale. Through the container, design will flow into the daily life, otherwise, it will always be in a serious and nervous status. Just like the Future Bookstore, it is a mini transmitter of imagination, bringing the experience of aesthetic to people.