QingPu library | Shanghai

Big on concept, the QingPu Thumb Island by MADA s.p.a.m., lies in the middle of an artificial lake an hour outside Shanghai. We’ve all seen the ‘wavy-roof-becomes-landscape’ idea before, however several bizarre moments break this conceptual clarity making a building full of unexpected spaces, between, under and around. Perhaps some of the most interesting being created accidentally due to whimsical changes in program during the early stages of construction from shopping centre to library. Add to this a diverse choice of materials, and the building becomes a complex cacophony of ideas.

The fact that the building is already falling apart is symptomatic of the quality of Chinese construction, the rushed detail design schedules, and the division of concept architect and construction architect. But rather than being a flaw for European architects to feel smug about, shoddy detailing adds to the charm. The crudeness of the building makes it all the more daring and brazen, and conjures a hint of decaying early modernist ruins by forgotten masters.

images and text by Levent Kerimol | Shanghai, May 1 2008


Further reading:
An interview with Qingyun Ma of MADA s.p.a.m. | published in VOLUME8 – UBIQUITOUS CHINA | Sep 2006

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