Due to the changing nature and politics of libraries, designers now have the ability and freedom to take creativity liberties and create public spaces that are appealing, community-focused and aesthetically unique.
Architectural firm LYCS Architecture has taken the newly-acquired creative freedom surrounding library design and presented a design concept for China’s Jiaxing University Library and Media Center that juxtaposes modernism and traditionalism, as well as built and organic.
Guided by project leaders Ruan Hao, Devin Jernigan and Zhan Yuan and featuring a team of experts that includies Vedrana Puhalo, Jin Shanliang, Max Peterschmidt, Li Yan and Chen Rong, the library’s development phase span from 2012 to its completion in 2014.
With the site stretching over 42,000 square metres, it was essential to the designers that the building be connected within itself and to its surroundings.
In delivering on this idea, the designers have presented a vision of the building as one that is completely inundated by the organic. From the surrounding waterways and woods to the inward-focusing courtyards and rooftop gardens, the building’s connection to these vast organic spaces will be optimised by the inclusion of a heavily glassed façade.
The development will be built on a triangular floor plate, maximising exterior views. The focus on connecting the natural and the built is further evidenced in the building’s layout, which calls for all stairs and ramps to be clustered in the centre of the building so as not to block the outward focus.
Curtain walls allow for an abundance of natural light to filter inside the library and also provide insulation and eliminate excess solar gain.
The library is a prime example of just how far removed modern library design is from the buildings of old. Long gone are the scholarly desks, drab paint jobs and boxed-in rooms of yesteryear. In their space stand beautiful, light-filled buildings that optimise learning, community and a reconnection to the outdoors, even when undertaking what can seem some of the most mundane of tasks.