HCCH Studio creates Twisted Brick Shell Library "to cuddle visitors" in China

Twisted Brick Shell Library by HCCH Studio

Architecture practice HCCH Studio has created a shell-like brick pavilion in Longyou County, China, which draws on its agricultural surroundings.

Aptly named Twisted Brick Shell Library, the pavilion is located on an area of farmland separated from the nearby city of Quzhou by the Quijiang River.

HCCH Studio designed it as a multifunctional space where visitors are encouraged to observe their surroundings or read.

Exterior view of Twisted Brick Shell Library in China
The pavilion by HCCH Studio is enclosed by a shell-like structure

“[It is] an abstract, revolving space to cuddle visitors in the wide-open field like a spiritual shelter,” HCCH Studio founder Hao Chen told Dezeen.

“The function is an installation to arouse visitors’ awareness of reading and its surroundings,” he added.

While providing a space to relax and read, Twisted Brick Shell Library is also intended to reflect its position between urban and rural settings.

Above view of brick pavilion by HCCH Studio
The space comprises two connecting brick hemispheres

It is formed of two brick hemispheres connected by a twisting section of wall, which is built from perforated steel plates and concrete cast in situ.

Visually, the concrete creates the impression of mortar between the brickwork and mimics the appearance of the typical brick buildings found in the nearby town.

View through opening at Twisted Brick Shell Library in China
It is designed as a space to observe the landscape and read

“The structure is in a semi-rural area very close to a town,” said Chen. “You can strongly feel the approaching of urbanisation on this seemingly still idyllic area,” he continued.

“That’s why we propose a semi-fabricated, semi-handmade way of construction, to reflect this reality,” added Chen.

Chen added that locals find this design “interesting because brick is a widely used common material in China’s rural area, but this shape looks a bit odd”.

“The geometry contradicts its dense agricultural surroundings while the brick materiality fits well with local red soil,” he explained.

Interior view of brick structure by HCCH Studio
A brick bench provides seating on the interior

To the south, a paved brick path from a nearby road leads to one end of Twisted Brick Shell Library, while to the north this is mirrored by a short brick terrace.

Lining the interior is a datum of 24 small acrylic domes installed at eye level, each inscribed with “visual poetry” by Japanese artist Yoichiro Otani and intended to be read with the landscape as a backdrop.

Acrylic dome built into structure by HCCH Studio
Small acrylic domes are inscribed with “visual poetry”

Below these domes, narrow, concrete-framed openings offer further views of the landscape above a brick bench that provides seating around half of the interior.

As well as being a multipurpose space for locals and tourists to use, Twisted Brick Shell Library has hosted a series of reading workshops by artist Shaomin Shen.

Elsewhere in China, Lin Architecture recently completed a sculptural concrete pavilion in rural Yunnan and Plat Asia explored “boundarylessness” with Cloud Tea Room.

The photography is by Qingyan Zhu.

Project credits:

Architect: HCCH Studio
Design team: Hao Chen, Chenchen Hu, Yida Hou, Wenxi Li, Xi Cai
Structural consultant: Zhun Zhang, AND office

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