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Twisted Brick Shell Concept Library



Project Country: China

Architect: HCCH Studio

Brickwork Contractor: Kunshan Nongshi

About the project

The Concept Library is a spiral shell embraced by high grass field, located in rural area of Zhejiang Province, China. It tries to explore the possibility of the fusion between contemporary formal expression and vernacular material culture.

The Concept Library is approximately 10 meters in diameter and 5 meters high. The continuous surface is generated by two semicircles sweeping from one to the other, blurring interior and exterior. The shell is made of red bricks, not by masonry, but all casting in-situ. Sunlight sheds into dim interior through the opening at the top. Visitors can read text inside the acrylic balls through the small holes in the walls. The texts overlays with the landscape, creating a poetic moment to connect body, mind and nature.

The distribution of bricks on the double-curved surface presents a great challenge to construction. The bricks are positioned by perforated steel plates that work as steel reinforce framework and then filled by high strength concrete. These three materials work together as a total structure. Bricks in 12 different widths are distributed along the UV grid to ensure the radial continuity of the structure. The shell thus forms a refreshing construction logic and visual expression, which derives from stacked and interlocking masonry. The pixelated matrix distribution of the brick, the everchanging thickness of ’mortar’ (which is actually in-situ concrete) subverts the common tectonic of brick construction.

This is a bold attempt at rural construction, integrating digital industrialisation with traditional materials. It is also trying to create a transcendent experience beyond mere idyllic expression of ’countryside’. The library is a contemporary shelter for body and mind, encouraging visitors to read and reflect a broader outside and inside.