atelier xi's spiraling bookhouse frames scenic views of a riverside park in shenzhen

atelier xi's spiraling bookhouse frames scenic views of a riverside park in shenzhen

‘serpentine bookhouse’ by atelier XI: an escape for locals

 

The ‘Serpentine Bookhouse’ by Atelier XI is located amid the greenery of trees along Shenzhen’s Dasha River Ecological Corridor. To its west, a 13-kilometer scenic pathway of the riparian corridor runs continuously, and to its north, a children’s park comes to life; the east side, meanwhile, is populated by dense residential communities. The newly added public building includes a 300 sqm children’s reading room and a public restroom open to park visitors and residents 24/7. ‘Since its opening, it regularly holds art exhibitions and reading clubs, thus becoming one of the favorite spots for urban dwellers and especially family visitors to escape from the stresses of urban life and to commune with nature and fellow cultural communities,’ notes the practice. 

atelier xi's spiraling bookhouse frames scenic views of a riverside park in shenzhen
all images © Zhang Chao

 

 

a spiraling volume with panoramic nature views

 

The traditions and folklore of fishermen along the Dasha River inspired lead architect Chen XI to envision a spiral conch concept, rising and wrapping around like an art sculpture, returning as much ground space as possible for plant growth and tourist activities — thus the project title, ‘Serpentine Bookhouse’. The end of the spiraling volume faces the riverside park with an open balcony, providing visitors with a place to relax at the height of the treetops.

 

Following the exterior form of the building, the interiors present themselves as a series of stepped reading spaces winding around the trees in the atrium. At the same time, floor-to-ceiling windows offer a panoramic view of the park ahead. ‘The stepped reading spaces with rich height differences provide an opportunity for children to explore and satisfy their natural curiosity and cultivate their interest in independent learning. The slide is open to children every day after school, which will add a fun and exciting dimension to the space,’ writes Atelier XI. 

atelier xi's spiraling bookhouse frames scenic views of a riverside park in shenzhen
‘Serpentine Bookhouse’ in Shenzhen

 

 

In response to the hot climate in Shenzhen, continuous vertical grilles are installed as sunshade devices on the building façade, creating an ever-changing interior light and shadow play over time. Furthermore, the team installed operable windows on each reading step and sliding doors on the second-floor balcony; these can fully open up to bring in natural ventilation and offer all-season comfort. 

 

Construction-wise, Atelier XI adopted a steel framework to sculpt the challenging form of the ‘Serpentine Bookhouse’. The inner and outer circles use spiral Vierendeel trusses to determine the arc shape, and the large cantilever of the viewing balcony on the second floor is supported by oblique tension enforcement. All major structural components are shipped to the site for assembly after prefabrication in the factory, minimizing on-site disturbance to the park and nearby residents.

atelier xi's spiraling bookhouse frames scenic views of a riverside park in shenzhen
emerging amid treetops

 

 

Reflecting on the project, Atelier XI concludes: The Serpentine Bookhouse embodies the urban revitalization strategy that Shenzhen has been pursuing in recent years. In the goal of adding small-scale civic and cultural buildings to serve public life in the parks and public spaces, this strategy helps public projects land in a timely and accurate manner with a relatively small investment and relatively short construction time. With the joint efforts between design and construction teams, the Dasha River Serpentine Bookhouse project was completed and put into use in less than one year from design to construction.’

atelier xi's spiraling bookhouse frames scenic views of a riverside park in shenzhen
an urban haven for locals and visitors

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atelier xi's spiraling bookhouse frames scenic views of a riverside park in shenzhen
the building hosts a 300 sqm children’s reading room

atelier xi's spiraling bookhouse frames scenic views of a riverside park in shenzhen
floor-to-ceiling windows clad the façades and enliven the stepped reading space

serpentine-bookhouse-designboom-full-1

atelier xi's spiraling bookhouse frames scenic views of a riverside park in shenzhen
vertical grilles adorn the building skin

atelier xi's spiraling bookhouse frames scenic views of a riverside park in shenzhen

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project info:

 

name: Serpentine Bookhouse

location: Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China

architecture: Atelier XI | @atelier_xi

lead architect: Chen XI

client: Shenzhen Nanshan District City Administration Bureau

project architects: Zhu Jing (SD-DD), Weng Cekai (Concept-SD)

design team: Lin Ziya, Ye Fangnan, Lin Zebang, He Xiansen

associate architect: Zhonghang Guorun (Shenzhen) Construction Technology Development Co., Ltd.

construction company: Shenzhen Huachuang Architectural Decoration Co., Ltd.

construction coordination: China Resources (Shenzhen) Urban Construction and Operation

completion date: 10.2022

gross built area: 396 sqm

photography: Zhang Chao 

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