With an area of 48,636m2, the site of the Hebei University Library is located in the center of the new Beicheng Campus. This competition winning proposal by Damian Donze, of the Tongji Architectural Design and Research Institute, is clearly divided. The base of the building is designated for some offices, an archive, a network center, a convention center and an exhibitions center. This way, the West entrance is reserved for the offices and the the network center while the East entrance is reserved for the convention center and the exhibition center. More images and architect's description after the break.
Having taken care of the secondary functions inside the base, we were able to keep the library itself pure and clean inside the main, central part of the building. There are two entrances to the library: One from the North, on the ground floor, and one from the South on the second floor. The South entrance was put on the second floor to leave base undisturbed. Additionally, did we emphasize the staircase by extending it all the way to the East entrance. Together with the sloped roof of the base, this creates a smooth transition from the site to the building. The site’s design extends the buildings functions into becoming a place where people can stay and take a break from the stress of their studies.
Site and Surrounding
The South of the campus is designated to teaching buildings while the North and West are designated for living and sport buildings. The standard height of the other campus buildings is 24 meters, and most buildings are kept in gray or white tones. However, the buildings in the North are clad in bricks and, somehow, try to imitated the old campus. In the center, separating the functions, is a green belt which includes a park and the location of the new library. The library is surrounded by water that starts from the park in the West and runs all the way to the East gate. This gives it some distance from the teaching buildings and gives us the opportunity to create a nice landscape.
The site is located right at the intersection of the 3 main axes which places the building in the middle of the view from each gate. This puts the library in a privileged situation and makes it easily accessible from the whole campus.
Both, the building outline in the North and the building outline in the South, are perpendicular to their axis. The building is off-setted 50m from the waterfront and 45m from the street in the North. Similarly, the East/West outline is derived from the site and runs, mostly, parallel to the site border. We tried to control the width of the building so that it would be fully visible from two important viewpoints. One point was the North gate and the second point was the square in the South, between the teaching buildings.
1.The main student flow comes either from the teaching area in the South across the pond and up the monumental stair to enter on the second floor, or from the dorms in the North to enter on the ground floor. Either way they will be received with a reception from where they can continue into the main library.
2.The West entrance is designated for the staff of the library offices, the network center and the archives.
3.The East entrance is reserved for the convention and exhibition center and is located as close to the East gate as possible to improve the accessibility of external visitors.
4.The underground car entrance is located on the North side and provides access to a garage with 99 parking spaces.
5. By utilizing the, otherwise difficult to use, space under the sloped roof, we managed to create space for 800 bicycles.
The functions of the library have been separated into 3 main parts to improve circulation and guarantee ease of access. This reduces the main flow hitting the main South and North entrances. The main building with 30'000m2 is reserved for the library while the large first floor, with around 10'000m2 holds the secondary functions and is divided up into East and West.
The library offices are located on the South-West side of the base and reaches all the way to the library reception and the book check in/out area. The short distance improves the book processing time. The convention center, containing an auditorium (500 people), lecture hall (200 people) and a conference hall (100 people) is located on the East side close to the East gate to ensure good accessibility.
The library, besides providing functions like an E-reading area, a periodical reading area and a leisure reading area, also contains a variety of study areas. We focused on creating study spaces with a lot of natural lighting. We, therefore, arranged them inside and around the two large atria as well as along the facade. To further improve the quality of the reading spaces along the facade, we created many "Loft" spaces where the ceiling was set back from the facade to generate double/triple height space. This not only adds more natural light for the reading area, but also moves the stacks further away from the natural light which is desirable considering the damaging effect of direct sunlight on books.
Internally, the library is organized in a way so that the functions that are more frequented are on the lower floors while functions which are less frequented are on the top floors. This brings a great improvement in terms of circulation.
The basic structure is made of concrete column and beam structure connected with the shear walls of the cores. However, we made use of a steel truss to span the two overhangs in the North and the South.
Natural Lighting & Ventilation
The lower atria (floors 2-5) obtain their light through the structural glazing facade while the upper atria (floors 6-8) each have an additional skylight to provide a comfortable reading environment. Most of the facade, however, is using standard windows to ensure energy efficiency as well as to control the direct sunlight that enters into the building.
Besides the natural ventilation provided by the facade, we added two shafts on the East side and the West side to provide fresh air for the toilettes and the fresh air rooms.The building is horizontally divided between the 5th and the 6th floor. The client wants to use the lower part first while opening up the upper part later on. By thermally dividing the building, we answered to that request and made sure that the lower part can be heated/cooled independently from the upper part during the first phase.
Having taken care of the necessary fire evacuation cores in an efficient way, we were able to play with the public circulation. Most important are the 4 elevators in the center that provide fast access to (being in the center) to every part of the building and create a strong "backspine" of our circulation system. However, elevators require waiting time and use energy, so we developed an intricate system of public stairs to reduce the traffic for the elevators.
Looking at the facade of the building, one may easily be reminded of ying and yang. These principles were, in fact, part of our influence.The buildings in the North of the library are made up of a lot of brick and, somewhat, try to imitate the style of the old campus. Hence, we decided to use a similar earthy material, terracotta.
The buildings in the South of the library use simple and plain colors. We tried to develope a fitting language for the main South facade to create a smooth transition. Our choice fell on a pale natural stone that can create a similar image as the other buildings, yet is of higher quality.
With the twisting motion of the two types of the facade were we able to take up the two styles and connect the North with the South/old and new. We also took the interior into consideration, however, which is why the facade has a higher percentage of openings on the lower floors while it closes up towards the top. This action, once again, give more natural light where it is needed (study area) while it protects the books in the compact stacks on the upper floors.
Architect: Damian Donze (Tongji Architectural Design and Research Institute)
Location: Tianjing, China
Project: Beichen Campus Library of Hebei University of Science and Technology
Design Team: Wensheng Wang, Damian Donze, Wang Shuyi, Zhang Xü
Site Area: 48,636m2
Total Area: 45,290m2
Total Height: 40m
Car Parking: 99
Bicycle Parking: 800
Book Space: 2,400,000