National Library / KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten


KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten recently designed a 77,000 square meter library extension to accommodate the existing of Beijing.  The new addition will hold approximately 12 million books and be used by an estimated 12,000 people per day.

More about the library after the break.


The Si Ku Quan Shu collection, “unparalleled in its historical and cultural significance”, includes manuscripts produced during the Ch’ing dynasty (1644 – 1912).  The manuscripts provide a copy of all documentation relating to Chinese culture, “effectively preserving for the modern age this valuable wealth of knowledge spanning thousands of years”. KSP Engel und Zimmermann’s design focuses on the importance of the documents, “As the center and core of the library, the glazed vault for the Si Ku Quan Shu collection of China’s written cultural heritage, bound in wooden panels, is always visible, and transparent.”


Visitors enter the library through a geometrically arranged garden via broad steps set between two lower building sections, which then lead to the third story. From here, the visitor has a view of the entire library and into the extensive steel structure spanning the roof.


The library is divided into levels: located around the base is the large space containing the contemporary library with reading rooms, reference works and a reference library, then above this level is the digital library, synonymous with the future, global communication and networking. The differing levels provide a “simple symbolism of linking together past, present and future, as inter-reliant and simultaneously merging elements, lends the design cogency.”  The various levels merge together allowing rows of books to alternate with reading areas.

Images courtesy of the studio.







Project data

Client: National Library of China

Competition: 1st prize

Floor area: 80,000m²

Completion: 09/2008

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "National Library / KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten" 27 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • param

    nice project

  • Richie

    I quite like this, it’s got a strong but not overbearing presence onto the city and the way it opens out inside with the big interconnected spaces is impressive.

  • Julio Ramirez Bruna

    wow!!!! amazing…..

  • darla

    What a waste of space… but what a gorgeous project at the same time!

  • baobabs

    When is the project finished? I love the idea that it was designed with cultural significance in mind.

  • ivy

    really good project. i like it . but i wanna know more about the environmental design aspects…

  • richie

    a lttl bit heavy, but seems very nice project to me.

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  • gerson

    and how thy simbolism is reflected in the day to day building, that appear as a continuity of thosev arround, without any consideration of being other than order’order and geometry?
    Why it is a library as it can be a shoping mall or other public building as well
    a big project and a great waste

  • moun

    Had it been completed in Sep. 2008? Well, maybe I’ll find a day for a visit.

  • helen

    looks like a big burger that’s gonna eat me. or anyone around it. also, nothign fascinating about materiality there… I DO NOT LIKE THE SOFT EDGES, it takes away from the whole monumentality of it.

  • joninberlin

    Jorge is da man!

    • Alex Zech

      Yes he is the man…. Jorge !!!!!

  • yoyo

    I visited it today.such a beautiful project!I love it!

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  • Lim

    Does not use roof of top anything?

    If the roof use green roof garden except for center grass for lighting, better than now.

  • stef

    i have to analyse this building but i can not find the blueprints in a better quality can somebody help me?thank you