A former Russian Orthodox church in Shanghai, China, built in 1932 and long abandoned, has been restored and retro-fitted as a library. Due to requirements placed on the architects by the local Historic Buildings Protection office, no major changes could have been made to the structure. In order to preserve and highlight the original structure, it was also necessary to remove additions and alterations that had been made after the Communist Revolution.
The design firm decided to recreate a church within the church, using materials that differed from the original, that would leave the walls of the church visible. The silver-plated metal panels were assembled together, simulating the bulk of the apse of the church, so that they could be used as shelving for books.