LiYuan Library / Li Xiaodong Atelier

© Li Xiaodong

Architects: Li Xiaodong Atelier
Location: , China
Design Team: Li Xiaodong, Liu Yayun, Huang Chenwen, Panxi
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 175.0 sqm
Photographs: Li Xiaodong

This project is modest addition to the small village of Huairou on the outskirts of Beijing, just under a two hours drive from busy Beijing urban life.

© Li Xiaodong

On the one hand it forms a modern programmatic complement to the village by adding a small library and reading space within a setting of quiet contemplation. On the other hand we wanted to use architecture to enhance the appreciation of the natural landscaping qualities.
So instead of adding a new building inside the village center, we chose this particular site in the nearby mountains, a pleasant five minute walk from the village center. In doing so we could provide a setting of clear thoughts when one consciously takes the effort to head for the reading room.


Because of the overwhelming beauty of the surrounding nature our intervention is modest in its outward expression. We can’t compete with nature’s splendor. The building blends into the landscape through the delicate choice of materials and the careful placement of the building volume. Especially the choice of material is crucial in blending with the regional characteristics. After analyzing the local material characteristics in the village we found large amounts of locally sourced wooden sticks piled around each house. The villagers gather these sticks all year round to fuel their cooking stoves. Thus we decided to use this ordinary material in an extraordinary way, cladding the building in familiar textures in a way that is strikingly sensitive.

© Li Xiaodong

The inside of the building has a very expressive character though; its interior is spatially diverse by using steps and small level changes to create distinct places. It frames views towards the surrounding landscape and acts as an embracing shelter. The building is fully glazed to allow for a fully daylight space. The wooden sticks temper the bright light and spread it evenly throughout the space to provide for a perfect reading ambience.

© Li Xiaodong

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "LiYuan Library / Li Xiaodong Atelier" 24 Jul 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • hhh


  • hmm

    Initially thought the same..was perfect.
    However..kind of redundant to put twigs on top of the glass uniformly throughout the building. Also feels scary.

    The twigs seem arbitrary and aren’t intellectually put into place like the stones in Herzog de Meuron’s winery.

    I like the overall effect on the exterior.

  • tristan emig

    Really nice. I was skeptical about the sticks actually diffusing light but they seemingly do in a few of the pictures.

  • Sudar Khadka

    Fully glazed then permanently screened seems kind of wasteful. But then again, its hard to argue this since it fits the site so well. Really well done overall

  • Rosalind

    brilliant, beautiful, wish I was there

  • Kim Saggers

    I love the simplicity in the details. It is nice to see something that blends so nicely into it’s context as opposed to breaking with it violently.

  • Mars

    Nature is the truest architect of the world. Contrast buildings as out of element opposed to nature being out of place. Beautiful.