Following an international design competition win in 2018, Snøhetta was commissioned to design the new sub-centre library in Beijing, China, and has developed the architectural, landscape, and interior design in partnership with local partner ECADI.
Construction of the sub-centre library started in 2020. Since then, the roof has been put in place and the tall glass enclosure, up to 16 meters, is currently under installation. At completion, this will be China’s first self-supporting glass façade project.
The Library was designed and created to celebrate a public space for learning, information exchange and open discussions. This has been emphasised by creating a common space as the centre of the library, highlighted by a prominent sculpted learning landscape that covers and permeates throughout the whole library.
Unhindered by the highly transparent building façade, it reveals itself and its inner activities to passers-by, inviting them into this generous space.
Extended from the sculpted landscape are columns that reach up to support the roof – a ginkgo forest-like canopy. Each tree column is also a building technology component, resulting in a distributed building technology system that tackles climate control, lighting, acoustic comfort, and rainwater disposal.
Under the roof canopy and atop the sculpted landscape is a variety of experiential spaces where visitors can find their own private place for reading and learning while always being connected to the larger common area. Creating a feeling of being tall and low, open and closed, private and public all at the same time. There are no designated "sections" or categorizations of knowledge. Everything is open and accessible. It is meant to be a big space for all.
Beijing sub-centre library will set the benchmark for future library design in many aspects – from building and enclosure technology, social and environmental sustainability, to public ownership in cultural spaces. This Library offers a contemporary yet timeless space for commonlearning and studying in a building that emphasizes and elevates the culturalrichness of Beijing and China at large. It will be the showcase for Beijing’srich heritage of culture and knowledge. Construction is expected to complete byend of 2022.