Meandering through patches of water and tall canopies, the fog slowly reveals a concaving structure. In China, the waterfront of Xinglong Lake, Chengdu, leaves behind tall skyscrapers, letting visitors immerse in a natural environment. In the distance, CITIC Bookstore emerges. Designed by MUDA Architects, this public space is an additional effort to the vision of landscape integration and urban symbiosis.
CITIC Bookstore holds the shape of an open slit at the intersection of its facades. Where one side perpendicularly grounds, the other curves up like the arches of ancient Chinese roofs. This shape symbolically and visually brings down the sky above to reflect the body of water surrounding the built volume. The graceful linkage of past and future are present within a minimal gesture.
At the slit, transparent glass panels reveal a warm interior with yellow light and wooden furnishes. Inside, CITIC Bookstore's ceiling is covered with an infinite span of wooden beams, elegantly elongating the space. In contrast, the exterior is covered in grey titanium zinc panels. This creates a systemic scale-like texture, seeming to protect the inner softness with its sturdy appearance. The playful integration of materials and colours smartly references the harmony of energy.
Entering the main space, visitors are greeted with vibrant artworks depicting the project. Displayed on concrete gallery walls, they accent the material's dark hue. The elevation suddenly drops to reveal a spacious interior with seating platforms and rows of bookshelves through the entrance. On one side, a ramp slopes down to the space below, and on another, a cluster of cafe tables neatly rest to face the outer nature.
A portion of the building is submerged underwater at the reading area, revealing a cross-section filled with aquatic vegetation and living creatures. Its soothing landscape becomes a meditative state for the readers, enhancing their experience. The water's green tint adds an organic visual, complementing the brassy feel of the entire space. Sometimes, subtle movements of the water surface cast its reflective shine, bringing a quiet liveliness to the peaceful atmosphere.
Xinglong Lake CITIC Bookstore is a transitional zone where words and nature can be observed. Where time gently drifts, and movements modestly flow, visitors are swayed to the rhythm of their surroundings and put in a peaceful state of mind.