Ministructure No. 16, also known as the BookBar, is part of the Jinhua Architecture Park in Jinhua, China. The Park, organized by artist and architect Ai Weiwei, incorporates pavilions designed by 17 Chinese and international architects. The Book Bar provides a retreat from the park’s active landscape where visitors can read, eat, and contemplate.


The project’s concept expands on an important confluence between the book and architecture in Chinese history. In the third century B.C.E., a descendant of the philosopher Confucius concealed several of his texts in a wall when the emperor ordered all Confucian writings burned. The texts, essential relics of Chinese culture, were not discovered until nearly four centuries later. From this historic juncture of books and building, the pavilion’s form pulls its central wall outward into two unequal, cantilevered arms, each concealing within a public space for learning. The shorter of the structure’s wings contains a bookstore and cafe, organized into a series of terraces, which rise to a framed view of the park to the west. The pavilion’s smaller wing is perforated by an abstract pattern, forming a reading porch open to the park beyond.


Approaching the hovering form from below, visitors enter through an irregular opening in the underside of the reading porch. The ministructure’s interior contains a series of complex visual relationships, perspectival projections, and moiré fields, each layer adding to an understanding of the pavilion and the surrounding landscape. Although the bookstore and reading porch are separated, the looping lines of three sinuous figures provide a connection between the figural entrance aperture on the underside of the structure, its corresponding projected void in the center wall, and the curved plan of the mezzanine in the bookstore. As visitors move through these reciprocal spaces, the pavilion reveals itself, expanding and contracting, creating an ever-changing montage of spaces between, within, and beyond the Ministructure and the viewer.

LOCATION / Jinhua, China
TYPE / Library and café in public park
SIZE / 1,300sf
STATUS / Completed 2006
ROLE / Design Architect
COST /  RMB 4,000,000

AWARDS /  AIA Los Angeles Design Citation, 2007
AIA Los Angeles NEXT LA Honor Award, 2006