The competition winning proposal for the Beijing Agriculture University Library is a successful addition to the existing campus. Designed by Tongji Architectural Design and Research Institute, their design takes care of all the functions while providing a comfortable environment for students to study and research. With a construction area of about 49,000m2, the library includes a self-study area, a restaurant, an auditorium, several offices and some meeting rooms. More images and architects’ description after the break.
With 3,000 seats and space for more than 2,000,000 books, the functions of the library are separated internally to allow them to be run independently. The site is located on the east side of the campus, between teaching and living area. In the south there’s a stadium with a large public square in front of it while in the north there is a high-rise residential compound. Bordering on the west side is an important Tech. Building. The site expands east on the north/east corner along West Xiaoyuehe Road, forming an L-shaped site of approximately 20,000 square meters.
We analysed the campus in order to create a footprint that respects the surrounding buildings and traffic axis. Knowing the importance of the Tech. Institute, we continued the outline of the institute building from the West as well as offset our building the same distance from the road. Hence, creating a brotherly atmosphere. Furthermore, we continued the outline of the dorm building in order to create some green space between the library and the campus border. Out of this we had a usable site area of about 10,000m2.
After many attempts of physical models as well as 3D models, we ended up using a simple but functional massing and layout. It is a six-story building with a ground-floor height of 6m, and a standard floor height of 4.8m. Thus, creating a total building height of 30m which happens to be the same as the neighboring Tech. Building and the Gym. This helps to create a harmonious campus skyline. The regular shape of the building makes it fit well into the existing campus and strengthens the campus axis. We also took the cold Beijing winters into consideration in our design. Having a compact building reduces the exterior surface which helps to greatly reduce the need for heating.
The building is organized so that highly frequented functions such as the auditorium, the meeting rooms, the restaurant and the common stacks were located on the lower floor while less frequented functions like the archive were located on the higher floors. Thus, considerably improving the efficiency of the vertical circulation. Having set up the necessary fire escapes, we decide to add a secondary system of open staircases. We created wide stairs that, not only connect the different floors, but also create high quality space for studying. Besides having the function of connecting the different floors, these stairs also add to the magnificence of the atrium-space.
Direct sunlight destroys the binding and brittle books. People, however, require light to read. Therefore, the reading area was arranged along the facade, while the stacks got located further inside the building. As the stacks get more compact towards the top, the requirement for reading area becomes less. The facade follows the need of natural lighting. So, on the lower floors, where more light is needed, the facade opens up while it closes down on the upper floors to protect the books.
The fifth elevation was given a lot of attention since the building is surrounded by many high-rises. It is made of roof-gardens and skylight windows which, in some ways, resemble the landscape design of the building while, at the same time, greatly improving the quality of the 6th floor. As to the facade material, we, again, tried to find something that fits well with the surrounding. Most of the buildings are made of brown bricks or are painted in earth-like colors. Therefore, our choice fell on a brown natural stone.
Through a variety of ways, such as the skylights, the scattered facade windows, the atriums and the double height spaces, the interior space ensures maximum natural diffuse lighting for reading space without letting in direct sunlight that could damage books.
Architects: Tongji Architectural Design and Research Institute
Location: Beijing, China
Design Team: Wensheng Wang, Damian Donze, Shiying Zheng, Sidney Gong
Site Area: 20,000 sqm
Built Area: 49,000 sqm (42,200s sqm above ground and 6,800 sqm underground)
Area Distribution: 1F: 8,600 sqm; 2F: 7,350 sqm; 3F: 7,100 sqm; 4F: 4,500 sqm; 5F: 7,700 sqm; 6F: 7,000 sqm; BF: 6,800 sqm
Parking Lot: 200 (166 underground, 34 on-ground)
Budget: 2.45 billion RMB (245,000,000)