Netherland-based architecture and urban design practice MVRDV had dished out yet another architectural marvel. Its design for one of the largest libraries in China has landed the firm the winning title in the competition to design a new central library for Wuhan. Inspired heavily by the Han and Yangtze Rivers, the striking structure combines traditional and non-traditional functions to emerge as a ‘canyon of books.’
The 140,000-square-metre project looks distinct, with three dramatic picture windows facing different parts of the city: the skyline, the nearby park, and an adjacent plaza. The three-faced flowing building boasts beechwood terraces that mimic the sculptural lines of a canyon. Keeping the soul of the library intact, the designers have featured a living room, reading, study, and studio spaces.
The first floor is a commodious public space open to visitors. The well-designed pavilions on the terraces host a variety of programs. At the same time, the canyon shapes different zones, like quiet reading areas, group study areas, and bookshelves.
“Going inside, certain landscape elements come together,” said Jacob van Rijs, founding partner of MVRDV. “There is a series of plateaus that can be used for studying. The biggest one will be for the more popular areas. The higher up you go, the quieter the study and reading spaces will be, serving the needs of visitors. The topography of Wuhan was an important source of inspiration: we have this idea of a horizontal view towards the lakes and on the other hand, we have this more vertical view towards the city with the high rises. This is nature versus the city, and the building is somehow focusing on this. I think this makes it an exciting place to gather.”
The surrounding park contributes to the sustainable maintenance of the massive library and works around the climatic conditions of Wuhan. Tall trees provide cooling in areas of intense sunlight, while the main public areas are shaded by the northwest corner of the building, per Designboom. Solar panels merged into the library’s roof with undulating patterns provide the facility with renewable energy. This eye-catching edifice will be located at the Baofeng overpass in Wuhan’s Central Business District.
MVRDV’s futuristic Tianjin Binhai Library in China is another excellent example of their out-of-the-box thinking. The library is lined floor to ceiling with books and spans 33,700-square-meter.