hostels are all the rage these days, especially as travel continues to be reconsidered. beijing-based architect cao pu is no stranger to hostel design, having completed several accommodation spaces already. his latest project — together · venue fawn hostel in suzhou, china — is a fascinating play of public and private space. it was designed out of an old structure of a department store named beiding, which was very popular in the 70s and 80s and bears a long history of business. cao pu and his team spent a great deal of time studying the city environment and contemplating a plan that would suit the needs of a hostel, while giving something back to the community as well.
all images courtesy cao pu
the storefronts were refurbished according to cao pu’s minimalist style, and remain open for a wide array of uses. the spaces encourage guests to discuss business, read, eat, watch movies, and, of course, share activities at any random time. there’s no knowing what will happen in a hostel like this, and cao pu wanted to embellish any possibilities of community connection. these storefronts can even be temporarily rented out by guests to become a kind of pop-up shop for creative travelers to advertise and sell their products. one shop — a tiny hardware store — has colorful wares advertised within its large glass windows — probably the most minimalist hardware store in the world.
the upstairs section of the structure is dedicated to the dormitories, where guests can escape the exciting social spaces below. there is a nice balance between public and private, and cao pu remarks that he’s satisfied that ‘the clients of the hostel will have more opportunity to know each other, and more experience of the community due to this design.’ the design aims to make the social spaces very transparent with use of glass. aesthetically, the building maintains a connection to the traditional chinese style while simplifying the spaces between the basic ornamentation for an impression that’s both clear and comforting.
architecture in china (664 articles)
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