cao pu turns top-floor apartment into a hidden bookshop in china
all images © zhang zheming




chinese firm cao pu have shared their latest project – reedom- a hidden bookshop located at the top floor of a high-rise tower block in changsha, china. the building was originally occupied by a state-owned fireworks company and with this project, the architects adapted the apartment into a family bookstore to be sell books but offers residing residents a place to read and gather.

timber frames have been used throughout the renovation




light was one of the main factors during the design development. the compact two bedroom house lacked natural light and this led to the enlarging of windows and opening partitioning walls and bookshelves.


‘the rooms are small and can’t be enlarged, so we decide to go the adverse way to change them into smaller ones and create a more sincere and concentrated environment for reading. thus, we placed bookcases and partitions in the already small living room and bedrooms. in this way, after the completion of the project will be able to accommodate about 5000 books.’cao pu architects

the bookstore / library is based on the 17th level of an ex-fireworks company




with the addition of opening windows on the bookshelves, they simultaneously serve as private reading desks and encourages viewpoints, cross ventilation and light to pass. despite being surrounded by high-rises, a balcony has been created as another unique place for reading in the space. the completion of this top-floor library has created a sense of community for the residents and has strengthened relationships between neighbors.

windows promote views and light throughout the interior

the family choose books carefully in order to serve the public

there are 5,000 books inside the bookshop

the apartment was dark before

the windows serve as desks for reading

take a look at cao pu’s other project : humble hostel

partition walls serve as bookshelves, desks and the windows encourages interior ventilation

the buildig used to be the dormitory for staff of the former state-owned fireworks import and export company




project info:



client / project planning: “reedom目田”  sun shengqi,  xiong yong, zhao xuru, zou rong
location: 1703 firework mansion, no.605 furong mid road, changsha,china
designer:  cao pu
structural consultant: cui hao
project area: 60 m²

collection of books: 4500
design date: 03/2015 -
construction date: 06/2015-04/2016
construction supervisor: zou baolin, zeng wenli