Capsule hostel for bookworms named World Interior of the Year
Alongside the World Architecture Festival, the three-day World Festival of Interiors has also taken place in Portugal and the winner of the World Interior of the Year has been decided. The prize went to the Capsule Hostel and Bookstore, a radical renovation of a dilapidated old building in rural China.
Described by the Inside World Festival of Interiors as a cross between a beehive, a climbing frame, and a pagoda, the Capsule Hostel and Bookstore is located in Qinglongwu, in a mountainous forested area of Zhejiang province, eastern China.
Shanghai-based designer Atelier tao+c dramatically redesigned the existing building, which covers an area of 232 sq m (roughly 2,500 sq ft) and reaches a height of 7.2 m (23 ft). Natural light now floods the interior thanks to the addition of skylights, new windows, and a large glazed structure installed at the east side of the building, which replaces a gable wall. The new structure was constructed using wooden frames and corrugated polycarbonate panels. The original floors and partition walls were also removed, opening up space to host a new community bookstore and library, with bookshelves now lining the walls.
Naturally, adding a hostel plus a pair of bathrooms was a significant challenge given the relatively small space available. In response, the architects inserted two new structures and divided the upper part of the building into 20 tiny "rooms" – we use that term loosely – barely large enough for someone to lie down or sit, (it's definitely not a place to stay if you're claustrophobic). Elsewhere there are plenty of nooks and seating areas for guests to sit and enjoy a book.
"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," explains the Inside World Festival of Interiors. "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."