schmidt hammer lassen architects has won a competition to design a 30,000 square metres central library in Ningbo, China. Located in one of China’s oldest cities and a population of 7 million, the new library will display a collection of over 2 million books, aiming to double its number of daily visitors to 7-8,000 per day.
In order to sustain double the number of visitors, schmidt hammer lassen architects proposed an open plan layout that contains 3,000 study spaces.
We have designed a library which is open and accessible. It is organized around an 8,000 square metres open marketplace containing the most popular library functions and collections. The marketplace is visually open on all sides connecting to a public plaza and a landscaped ecological park and lake, thus ensuring all interior spaces have a direct connection with the outside.
– Morten Schmidt – partner at schmidt hammer lassen architects
The central atrium located in the heart of the new library was designed “in the form of a giant book stack” and contains desks, reading booths, internet stations and media spaces. The 28-metre-high space links the marketplace at ground floor level to quieter research spaces. The atrium fills the centre of the building with natural light throughout the day and transforms itself into an “urban lantern at night”.
The new library project is part of a transformation that the city of Ningbo is currently undergoing. Our proposal sits at the heart of the new town’s first phase immediately next to the new headquarters for the Ningbo Government. This location alone shows the importance the city has placed on its new Central Library.
– Chris Hardie – associate partner and head of shl‘s Shanghai office
schmidt hammer lassen architects ensured that the building’s orientation will make use of natural daylight throughout all interior spaces. Natural ventilation will also be maximized through the central atrium, while the “structure of the building will consist of exposed concrete to optimize thermal stability during hot summer months and cool winters”.
With an impressive portfolio of libraries designed, the Ningbo New Library is the first library designed by schmidt hammer lassen architects in China. The most recently completed library is the Arberdeen University New Library, which received a RIBA Award in 2013. Still under construction, the Aarhus new public library – Dokk1 in Denmark, and Halifax Central Library in Canada will be completed in 2014.
Architect: schmidt hammer lassen architects
Client: City of Ningbo, Ningbo Library
Location: Ningbo, China
Area: 31,405 square metres
Competition: 1st prize, restricted invited international competition
Status: Expected completion in 2016
Landscape architect: schmidt hammer lassen architects
*All images and information courtesy of schmidt hammer lassen architects.