Books and architecture: two things we value dearly. And when they come together, beautiful things happen, especially if they draw on minimalist sensibilities. A perfect example of this is Duoyun Bookstore in Huangyan, situated along Taizhou’s Yongning River banks in Zhejiang Province, China. Designed by architects Wutopia Lab in collaboration with Office ZHU, the studios created a minimal maze-like structure reminiscent of clouds. The aim was to create an inspiring venue that calmly and slowly rises over the river, with the bookstore readers in the metaphoric cloud.
Transformed from what we can only assume were two unused factory buildings, the all-white facade of this large and futuristic bookstore is clad in layers of perforated metal. The finished result reveals varying levels of transparency—some sections of the exterior are opaque, while others are almost see-through. Cloud-shaped cutouts act as doorways from one building to the next to further emphasise the sense of escapism and calmness. A series of small gardens and a central courtyard sit beautifully between the two buildings creating a connection and maintaining the quiet ambience synonymous with libraries. Wutopia Lab’s founder and lead architect, Yu Ting, explains:
By controlling the perforation rate, the facade creates a cloud of layers hiding the bookstore.
The aesthetic is perhaps less minimal within the bookstore yet still manages to instil a sense of serenity and wonder. We are faced with a superbly showcased catalogue of publications and a reading room with a pop of orange accents to add a touch of vibrancy to the space. These vibrant rooms accommodate exhibition spaces, a lecture theatre, a children’s play platform, a discussion terrace with a fire pit, and a labyrinthian terrace that serves as an outdoor cafe. For children and adults alike, the Duoyun Bookstore is a place to experience the joys of reading without a care in the world.