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Old Chinese Prose Inspires Modern Architecture

In China, knowledge has long been associated with wealth. Inspired by this Chinese concept, Aedas recently designed the Jiefangbei Book City in Chongqing, China. Sylvia Chan finds out more.

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BY Stephanie Peh

September 8th, 2016


Located at the Jiefangbei Central Business District and due for completion in 2020, the Jiefangbei Book City will be a 63-storey podium tower with a gross floor area of 153,980 square metres. The mixed-use project, led by Andy Wen, Global Board Director, and Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas, will house retail programs, apartments, offices, a boutique hotel, and civic plazas.

The fluid form of the building mimics an unfolding book scroll and implies the spirit of wisdom and knowledge, according to Andy Wen. Wen says, “The project is an expression of the ancient Chinese prose ‘knowledge brings wealth’.”

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The form of the podium is also inspired by the stepped rice paddies of Chongqing. “Chongqing is also known as ‘Mountain City’. Aedas designed the stepped feature of the podium to mimic the rolling book scroll and to manifest the local and cultural elements [of Chongqing],” says Wen. He adds that the stepped form of the podium creates green terraces and civic plazas for various activities.

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At the podium, the featured bookstore will be sandwiched between the retail and food and beverage spaces. “The bookstore is the heart and soul of this mixed-used project. It will therefore be placed at the core of the podium,” Wen says. The retail programmes, located from the first floor to the fourth floor of the podium, will be directly accessible from the car park and the street level. The top of the podium will feature food and beverage offerings, which will be conveniently accessible to the retail stores below and the offices above.

Wen says the thoughtful layout and circulation design of the podium will enable the bookstore to work together with the retail elements to create an attractive leisure destination for people who are seeking a new lifestyle in Chongqing.

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Offices and residential apartments will be featured above the podium. The residential element at the top of the complex will offer better views and a quiet living environment for the residents, according to Wen.

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The Jiefangbei Book City will also feature a Cultural Plaza on the fifth floor; a Sky Entertainment Plaza on the eighth, and a Sky Garden on the twelfth, connected to the street and green terraces by express escalators. “After studying the Jiefangbei area, we found that the surrounding buildings are enclosed boxes. There is little public space and interaction between the commercial space. The streets are very limited,” says Wen. The civic plazas and gardens in the Jiefangbei Book City will become public spaces that serve the area.

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The façade of the podium tower will be made of aluminum plates and glass. “For ecological reasons, we made calculations and will strictly control the area of glass curtains. A double curtain system with perforated metal and glass will also be applied,” says Wen. A natural lighting and ventilation system will be concealed behind the perforated aluminum façade panels, Wen adds.

The project laid foundation in August 2016. Wen expects the project to interact with its surroundings through its dynamic architectural form and public realms upon completion. “The Chongqing Xinhua Bookstore Group’s Jiefangbei Book City mixed-use project will energise the city landscape,” Wen concludes.

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