- Design Team : Jane Wang, Ximeng He
- Client : Whales Capital
- City : Shanghai
- Country : China
Text description provided by the architects. It’s an internal reading room for a team, a shared study room among a group of friends. The third space between public and private, living and working.
On the ground floor of a 1980s house, there are two vacant rooms enclosed by load-bearing brick walls and next to a glasshouse in the courtyard. Atelier tao+c converted those three separated rooms into a united place that accommodates a dozen people to read together at the same time and is suitable to hold small lectures within.
As a brick structure, each existing wall is immovable. After removing the original doors and windows, the rooms are connected to each other by three openings which are about 2-3 meters wide. The intervention responds to such constraints with an open room composition, letting the wall and the structural column dissolved in the visual perception by re-organizing the circulation through the space.
First, a set of bookshelves in semi-circular shape is introduced in and run through two brick rooms, the wall then is hidden behind to form two small quiet reading corners inwards; outwards, as the wall disappears, and the bookshelves smoothly and effectively connect two rooms into one.
The remaining two groups of structural wall stacks standing in the middle of the doorways connected to the glasshouse, we wrapped them with off-white travertine accordingly to the irregular shape and resolved it into an independent sculpture in the space. Then the formerly separated rooms are brought together and form a large flowing space.
Inside the shell of the original glasshouse, a timber structure was inserted. The wooden beams and columns were integrated with the bookshelves. Two different shapes of the skylight, round and square, are cut out on the newly made wooden ceiling to filter out excess sunlight and lead zenithal natural light to the center of the rooms which are more pleasant for reading.
The three components integrate three units into a minimal, yet unique continuous space. Finally, in the 70 square-meter sites, there are four different seating and corners that encourage various reading gestures. Some small study tables for single people to sit and work, a sofa seat suitable for multiple people to relax and talk a shared meeting table, and a reading booth for one person to meditate inside.