Book Temple

Book Temple

Fangsuo Bookstore in Chengdu

The Fangsuo Bookstore in Chengdu is far more than just a bookstore.

Located in a downtown development near the ancient Daci Temple, Fangsuo Bookstore in Chengdu balances modern luxury with ancient inspiration. 37 nine-meter-high concrete columns create the impression of a modern temple and support a ceiling of exposed pipes. The architect designed the bookstore to be a modern version of the scripture library that housed ancient religious texts.

The designer Chih-Kang Chu is from Taiwan, his initial proposal was centered around “The Secret Scripture Library”. Scripture libraries have been found around either in or under Buddhist temples for centuries and have an extended meaning of stored wisdom in Mandarin Chinese. The team found significant historical connections to the site, such as links to Daci Temple and one of the most famous monks in Buddhism - Xuan Zhang of the Tang dynasty.  

Chu envisioned a bookstore that embodied the essence of ancient scripture libraries, but he also wanted a space that spoke to the Sichuan people and their way of life. Sichuan people lead a slow-paced and relaxed lifestyle and they love to socialize. These spaces represent how central “Wo” (a nest, cove or home) and “Bai” (intentional placement or design) are to the Sichuan people.

Concrete columns with large cutting surfaces, bookcases in the loft, the air bridge and catwalk across the bookcases, and the elements of vast cosmos, Fangsuo Bookstore represented the image of “Secrete Scripture Library”. It seems all the knowledge in the world is stored in the here and waiting to be discovered. 

Within the bookstore people can always find spaces to nuzzle down and read a book, which represent the lifestyle of Sichuan people.

Special anti-rust treatment was painted on the black iron which is broadly used in the space. It not only protects the iron but also keep the looking of raw black iron. The entrance in the outdoor was made of copper and iron. However, rain and air would make corrosion on the surface, but it is the mark of time, the trace of memory.

Chu hopes to make new image of “bookstore” to Mainland China. Books don’t express culture, and yet culture doesn’t mean books. Fangsuo bookstore is not fixed to be a store selling books, but a cathedral carrying wisdom, culture, and attitude. It also present hope and the gate lead to a higher level of spirits.

Project details


Completion: 2015


Area: 5.508 m²


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