Retrofuturistic boutique in Hangzhou

Liang Architecture Studio creates retrofuturistic boutique in Hangzhou


Grand steel and micro-cement structures, celestial lighting and symmetrical layouts add a sense of ceremony to the shopping experience within this clothing boutique in Hangzhou, China by Liang Architecture Studio.

Located within a corner unit on a busy street in the city's Xiaoshan District, the 300-square-metre Audrey boutique sells women's fashion. Arranged over two floors, the store features a generous curved glazed facade.

The interior, designed by Liang Architecture Studio, follows the theme of "retro-futurism" – a movement that celebrates depictions of the future produced in an earlier era.

For the Audrey boutique, this is translated into symmetrical brutalist forms made from micro cement and steel that the designers said create a "church-like" feeling and "a sense of ritual".

The two floors are connected by a steel staircase

Towards the left of the space, a carpeted, rust-coloured steel spiral staircase with a glass balustrade connects the store's two floors.

The symmetrical concrete forms and orb-like lighting continue on the second floor, which hosts a VIP display area.

XL-Muse creates tunnel of books for shop in China

Shanghai studio XL-Muse has used black mirrored flooring and arched shelves to create a tunnel of books inside a Chinese store.

The shelving reaches to the ceiling in the corridor of the Yangzhou Zhongshuge bookshop and is reflected by the floor below, which is designed to emulate the effect of water.


The designers took inspiration from the store's waterside location in Zhen Yuan, as well as the area's arched bridges.

"In the past, guided by water, many literati and poets visited and gathered here," said XL-Muse. "[The bridges] used to be the guiding factor of culture and commerce, and they represent that the bookstore is the bond between humans and books at the same time."

The lobby is the most dramatic part of the 1,000-square-metre space, which also includes a reading room and a village-themed kids' area.

The main reading room also features curvaceous shapes in the form of sculptural, white pillars that curve inwards from the ceiling.

Kanva revamps former Olympic venue the Montreal Biodome

Architecture studio Kanva has redesigned the Montreal Biodome, a science museum in Canada, to reveal its original concrete arches and create new homes for its animal occupants.

The museum, which was originally an Olympic sports venue, contains four miniature ecosystems filled with plants and animals that visitors can walk through and explore.

The building used to be an Olympic velodrome

Designed by French architect Roger Taillibert and completed in 1976, the domed structure was designed as a velodrome. In the late 80s work began on converting the building, and it reopened in 1992 as the Montreal Biodome.

Kanva won the competition to undertake the Biodome Migration project in 2014. Migration was chosen as the name to reflect the animals moving to new enclosures and symbolise the museum's commitment to shifting attitudes around nature and climate change.

Roger Taillibert designed the building in the 70s

As part of the project, a four-metre-high clay cliff was built for macaws to nest in while a 15-metre-long ice tunnel was installed to create an immersive entryway for the arctic experience.

The complex renovation involved zip-lining fish over from pond to pond in pouches of water to clear the way for construction, while nine rope technicians rappelled down from the roof to install netting over the bird enclosures.

Kanva opened up the ceiling to the original roof

Kanva made the original roof a focal point of the revamp, removing a low ceiling insert and revealing the concrete vaults and the geometric roof glazing.

The reception hall is painted white to reflect the light from the roof and create a neutral space in between the ecosystem areas that occupy the majority of the building.

Walls of stretched white fabric divide this central lobby from the biodomes. As visitors pass between the fabric they can experience the smells, sounds and shifts in temperature before they see nature.

Kanva explained this partition system was informed by biophilia, a concept formed in 1984 by entomologist Edward O Wilson that theorises humans are soothed by the presence of nature.

Montreal Biodome's ecosystems represent different types of terrain found across the Americas. The Tropical Rainforest is full of parrots, piranhas and poisonous tree frogs, while lynx roam the Laurentian Maple Forest that's based on Quebec's woodlands.

The Gulf of St Lawrence recreates the space where the Great Lakes meet the Atlantic Ocean. A mezzanine floor overlooks these three zones, accessible via a glass elevator. A bright yellow interactive display about nature occupies this level.


Jiaxing Civic Center with roof shaped like a “tarp blown by the wind”

Architect: MAD

Architecture studio MAD has designed a three-venue civic centre in the city of Jiaxing, China, that will be topped with a continuous roof that has the form of a tarpaulin being blown in the wind, according to the studio.

Located near the canals of the historic South Lake and alongside the city's largest park, the Jiaxing Civic Center will contain three buildings organised around a 6,000-square-metre lawn.

Top: the Jiaxing Civic Centre was designed by MAD. Above: the building will have an undulating roof

"A civic centre, first and foremost, must be a place that attracts people; a place where children, youth, seniors, and families are willing to come together on a daily and weekly basis," said MAD founder Ma Yansong.

"We have created an undulating ring to serve as a garden-like living room for the city: an embrace."

Covered by an undulating, continuous roof the buildings will contain the Science and Technology Museum, the Women and Children Activity Center and the Youth Activity Center

By placing the buildings under a continuous roof, the studio hopes to create a sense of unity and coherence while also enhancing its energy efficiency and avoiding the duplication of spaces.

"The project's floating roof forms a continuous skyline, like a tarp blown by the wind, bringing a soft sense of wrapping to the form," the studio explained.

"The organic flow of the lines throughout the project echoes the softness and grace of the ancient canal towns lining the southern banks of the Yangtze River in eastern China."

Glazed walls connect the interior with the surrounding parklands

On the ground level, the three venues surround a large circular lawn that was designed to be a public park where people can gather, relax and socialise. It can also be used as an events venue.

A canopy roof will shelter entrances to the cultural buildings and their glazed exterior walls that will link the ground level with the central lawn.

This canopy roof around the lawn also forms a large landscaped terrace that circles the public green space.

The terrace extends and wraps around the perimeter of the cultural buildings forming a 350-metre-long raised walkway that leads to a sunken plaza and amphitheatre-style seating.

Floor-to-ceiling glazed walls will visually connect the interior of the cultural buildings with the exterior while a series of cascading terraces within the curved roof will form a collection of indoor-outdoor spaces.

Amphitheatre-style seating leads to a sunken plaza

Beijing-based architecture studio MAD was established by Yansong in 2004. The studio recently revealed its designs for the nearby Train Station in the Forest, which is nestled within a small forest.

It also recently completed a library in China that was cast in seamless concrete and a kindergarten in Beijing topped with red rooftop playground.