Peer inside Shanghai’s St. Nicholas, an Orthodox church from 1932, and you won’t see pews or traditional iconography. Thanks to architectural firm Wutopia Lab, the renovated building now serves as a shrine to verse. Titled “Church in Church,” the 388 square-meter structure holds Sinan Books Poetry Store, which boasts more than 1,000 volumes written in multiple languages. They’re displayed on steel shelves weighing 45 tons that contrast the ornate facades, high archways, and ceiling-bound frescoes of the original architecture.
In a conversation with ArchDaily, Wutopia Lab said the Chinese city’s mandates to preserve historical features restricted the project. The result is a light-filled space for Shanghai’s poetry community.