With a concept based on the use of symbolism in architecture, Wutopia Lab has recently completed the Hubei Foreign Language Bookstore in Wuhan, China. The project, which was completed at the end of 2019, involved the renovation of the former Hubei Changjiang Publishing & Media Group building.
“Our team decided to use a perforated aluminum plate to create the atmosphere of layers of green hills, act as the background of the street trees and symbolize the new life of Hubei Foreign Language Bookstore,” explains Wutopia Lab. The new façade of the bookstore is also a manifesto, the abstract green hills open a window on the increasingly crowded Zhongnan Road and link the numb daily life to a whole new world.
“Bookstore should always be such a place in city, like the lighthouse light up our life. At the center of this ‘new world’, light is more fully expressive of our spiritual pursuit than any material form,” continues the studio. “Therefore, we created a light cone that runs from the roof to the first floor. It allows the changes in weather and time to permeate all corners of the bookstore with the pouring light.”
The light cone as a sacred space inspires Wutopia Lab to perceive time and life with stillness and light. One of the freest and easy is the Chinese view of life, the so-called reincarnation of everything, the word of “life”. From the roof garden to the basement, the design team has planting areas of different sizes on each floor. They run through, forming a green dark line to echo the bright light cone.
The bookstore has a total of 10,000 square meters, with one basement level and seven floors above ground. The light cone is the center and it is surrounded by book world. Around the light cone is the core of the bookstore. From the first floor, there are urban art living room, 24H study room, children’s library, humanity reading room and silk road reading room, art reading room and the future reading room, and the bookstore on the roof displaying rare books.
On both sides of the core area are life-related spaces derived from bookstores. Starting from the basement are creative cuisine, cultural and creative area, coffee, living technology area, fast food, picture book museum, talent training center, teahouse, miniature art gallery, exhibition, classical furniture, photo gallery. Bookstore is a complex system that are constantly growing and updating. Therefore, Hubei Foreign Language Bookstore is not only a bookstore, but also a cultural and creative combination of lifestyle and aesthetics.