Interior design – Located in the forests of Tonglu in the Zhejiang province, Qinglongwu, the Capsule Hostel and Bookstore by Atelier tao+c transforms a 232 sqm old house by inserting a capsule hostel that can accommodate 20 people, a community bookstore and a library into the 7.2 metre high two-stories space.
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Exploring the idea of ‘buildings inside a building,’ the architects’ most significant challenge was ensuring the privacy of the hostel accommodation while providing openness and continuity to the public areas within such a compact space.
The ground floor has been opened up for library and public spaces by removing the partition walls and original floors, and two independent “floating” structures are placed above the library. These structures are each equipped with ten capsule rooms and one bathroom.
Atelier tao+c intentionally divided the floating mass to a height that can only enable people to sit or lie low and staggered the floor slabs to create an unconventional three-floor space with exciting perspectives.
The renovation of the exterior reflects the reorganisation of the interior spaces, and the restrained openings on the exterior wall, maintaining the original simplicity of the vertical capsule rooms. Rich natural light floods the interior by introducing a transparent structure at the east end of the building.
The structure replaced an entire gable wall to provide sweeping views of the surrounding natural landscape and was constructed from wooden frames and corrugated polycarbonate panels. The whole building is illuminated by warm indoor light at twilight to become a lighthouse.
The project was named the World Interior of the Year for 2021 at the influential INSIDE World Festival of Interiors earlier this month. Judges were impressed with the project’s “sensitive and inventive remodeling of a modest traditional building in a remote setting.” They added: “A cross between a beehive, a climbing frame and a pagoda, this building is exceptionally skillful and entertaining. A beautiful hybrid idea executed with poetry, sophistication, and warmth.”
All photos by ©Su Shengliang, courtesy of World Interior of the Year.
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