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Construction work on the Xujiahui Library has reached a key milestone with the completion of the exteriors and landscaping. The building will house both a public library and book shops. It is located on an urban square in the south-west of Shanghai and is adjacent to the well-preserved St. Ignatius Cathedral, a fine example of the architecture built by Jesuit missionaries in Xujiahui in the early 1900s.

The façade of the bookstore is made of slender fins that run vertically from the ground to top floor. The fins envelope the whole building giving a sense of abstraction and unity to the massing. Comprehensive research on traditional local building materials led the design team to opt for a façade made from concrete reconstituted with stone elements. The neutral, off-white colour of the façade accentuates the red bricks of St. Ignatious Cathedral. An external colonnade on the ground floor and loggias on the second and third floor provide views to the square and cathedral.

Image © Rex Zou