Fangsuo Book Store in Chengdu by Chu Chih-Kang
From the architect. Sutra Depository
I was inspired by the history of Xuanzhang, a famous Chinese Buddhist monk in Tang dynasty; he resided and practiced Buddhism in Daci Temple before he went on a spiritual journey to India. Fangsuo Book Store is located at the underground level of the commercial streets, which surrounds the Daci Temple. Therefore I had a bold idea of creating a modern underground “Sutra Depository”. Sutra depository is a private place to store all kinds of knowledge, such as books, sutras, and letters in ancient China. Many raw materials and techniques were used to resemble the scene of an ancient sutra depository, for example, concrete columns with large cutting surfaces, bookcases in the loft, the bridge and catwalk across the bookcases.
We think the bookstore should embody the concept of human history, culture, and wisdom; and it should embrace the past and unknown future with a grand vision. I used the elements of planet diagram and constellation, and a sculpture of ark in the form of a meteorite to visualize this idea. We want to create a gateway leading to a sacred and unknown world, just like a ‘Legend’ forever.
We used a lot of high-pressure-release design techniques: just imagine in a cave, after walking through a secrete tunnel, you would be amazed to see a magnificent temple with 9-meter vast concrete columns, which would project an unforgivable impression. Fangsuo Book Store not only carries cultures and living attitudes, but also provides customers a place for inner peace and a door of hope.
Nesting is a leisure attitude of life for Sichuan people: wherever they go, they’d like to have a place for “nesting”. For instance, while go climbing or shopping, they always want to find a place for card playing, chatting, or refreshments, such as tea, coffee, and snacks. So to meet this need, we designed many sitting areas, where people can nest and really enjoy the peaceful and tranquil time of reading.
Architects: Chu Chih-Kang
Location: Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Collaborators: Fangsuo Culture Development Co., Ltd.
Area: 5280.0 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Chu Chih-Kang Space Design