Capsule hostel with a library and bookstore in China named World Interior of the Year 2021


The view to the east of the Capsule Hostel and Bookstore. The project involves inserting a capsule hostel for 20 people, a community bookstore and library into a 7.2m high two-storey space. Photos: Su Shengliang/WAF2021

An old abode 232sq m in size transformed into a hostel and space for books has been named the World Interior of the Year for 2021 at the INSIDE Festival of Interiors 2021.

The Capsule Hostel and Bookstore in Qinglongwu, China, designed by Atelier tao+c, beat over 100 finalists across 11 categories to win the title.

Located in the forests of Tonglu in Zhejiang province, the project involves inserting a capsule hostel that can accommodate 20 people, a community bookstore and library into the 7.2m high two-storey space.

Exploring the idea of “buildings inside a building”, the biggest challenge to the architects was ensuring the privacy of the hostel patrons while providing openness and continuity to the public areas within a compact space.The Capsule Hostel and Bookstore in Qinglongwu is located in the forests of Tonglu in Zhejiang province, China.The Capsule Hostel and Bookstore in Qinglongwu is located in the forests of Tonglu in Zhejiang province, China.

Judges were impressed with the project’s “sensitive and inventive remodelling of a modest traditional building in a remote setting”.

“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.”

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.The biggest challenge to the architects was ensuring the privacy of the hostel patrons while providing openness and continuity to the public areas within a compact space.The biggest challenge to the architects was ensuring the privacy of the hostel patrons while providing openness and continuity to the public areas within a compact space.

These structures are each equipped with 10 capsule rooms and one bathroom. The architects intentionally divided the floating mass to a height that can only enable people to sit or to lie low, and staggered the floor slabs to create an unconventional three-floor space with interesting perspectives.

The renovation of the exterior reflects the reorganisation of the interior spaces, and the restrained openings on the exterior wall maintain the original simplicity of the vertical capsule rooms.

Natural light floods the interior through the introduction of 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 lobby of the Capsule Hostel and Bookstore. The lobby of the Capsule Hostel and Bookstore.

At twilight, the whole building is illuminated by warm indoor light to become a light house.

INSIDE World Festival of Interiors is held together with the World Festival of Architecture, run virtually this year from Dec 1-3. Combined, they form the largest live celebration of contemporary architecture and design in the world. The festival will reconvene in 2022 in Lisbon for its 15th edition.

Visit insidefestival.com for more details.

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