Architecture – Expected to complete by the end of 2022, the Beijing sub-centre library will offer “a contemporary yet timeless space for learning, knowledge sharing and open discussions, as well as celebrating the cultural richness of Beijing and China,” Explain at Norwegian studio Snøhetta. The architecture and interior design were developed in collaboration with local studio ECADI with the aim to bring people of all ages together, both spatially and intellectually.
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“The tree-like surroundings invite people to sit down and take a break at any time on their journey through the building – creating an informal zone and the notion of sitting under a tree reading your favourite book.”
The building is wrapped by a zigzagging 16-meter-tall glazed enclosure, which will become China’s first self-supporting glass façade. Because of the highly transparent building façade, the library reveals itself and its inner activities to passers-by, inviting them into this generous space.
At the core of the Beijing sub-centre library is an amphiteatre-like public space, “a valley for sharing ideas and inclusiveness,” explain the architects. Atop the sculpted learning landscape is a variety of experiential spaces where visitors can find their private reading place while always being connected to the larger common area.
The slim white tree columns also work as building technology components, resulting in a distributed system that tackles climate control, lighting, acoustic comfort, and rainwater disposal.
The roof has integrated photovoltaic construction elements that replace the conventional roofing and facade materials, utilizing the prime exposure of the rooftop to sunlight for renewable energy production and creating one of the most environmentally friendly roofs possible. The roof also has an overhang to reduce solar gain.
The high-performing insulated glass height has been reduced on the walls facing east and west, as well as adding an active sun-shading device facing the south and west façade. All the major materials for the construction have been sourced locally. Modular components with a rationalized structural grid have been used to reduce the need for customization for both the columns and the roof.
All images by ©Plomp, courtesy of Snøhetta.
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