Facing a picturesque canal amidst the cobblestoned “hutong” alleyways in Beijing’s old city, the poetically named Spring Whispers Book Club is a neighbourhood library occupying a typical one-storey cottage that has been thoroughly renovated by local architects Fon Studio. Retaining the modest character and proportions of the original structure, the architects have nevertheless imbued the Book Club with an aura of contemporary modernism by using a sparse palette of materials and a minimalist aesthetic of clean, geometric lines, smooth surfaces and trim less finishes.
With the aim of reinforcing the building’s decaying structure, a new teak and steel framework that follows the traditional building techniques was inserted inside the original brick shell. Standing on an elevated cement base, the post and beam construction supports the pitched roof while also enabling the canal-facing façade to be replaced with a new design of increased transparency and elegance. Allowing ample daylight to filter in, the re-designed wood and cement façade is crafted as a triptych reflecting the segmentation of the open-plan interior behind it.