Located between Ziqidonglai Central Park and the peripheral edge of Jiading, a new town in Shanghai, China, From East Bookstore displays a very European design. Scenic Architecture Office imagined a cultural retreat with unusual architecture elements that blend in, defining the personality of the project : “We conceived the environment of the bookstore as a whole, which provided an even and merged interrelation between interior space and exterior space, guiding people to read and relax“, explained the design team.
A sense of intimacy is provided by two small gardens included in the layout of the property, which further blur the indoor-outdoor boundaries. It is here that the visitors are offered an extra treat: “In different parts of the courtyards we created multi-leveled and enriched spatial sequences through splits and merges of wall routes and simple wall openings“. How would you comment on this highly modern bookstore design in Eastern China?
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.