schmidt hammer lassen architects has broken ground on their first Chinese library. Selected through an international competition in 2013, the project will provide a new home for the Ningbo City Library's massive collection - the region's largest for historic and ancient books - on the edge of an ecological wetland area in the eastern port city of Ningbo.
"Given our great collaboration with the Local Design Institute and the client team, we are full of confidence that the Ningbo New Central Library will become a vibrant new public space for the citizens of Ningbo,” says Chris Hardie, partner and director of schmidt hammer lassen.
Organized around an 8,000-square-meter "open marketplace," the 30,000-square-meter library opens itself on the ground floor to the surrounding public plaza, ecological park and lake. "This open democratic approach too public libraries is very much part of the ethos of schmidt hammer lassen’s architecture and a theme that can be seen in many of our completed library projects in Scandinavia and Europe," said the practice in a press release.
A large, 28-meter-high central atrium "in the form of a giant book stack" occupies the building's central core, offering study desks, reading booths, internet and reading spaces. It connects to the marketplace on the ground level and gives access to private research and historic collections above, while bringing natural light "deep into the heart of the library" which in turn "acts as an urban lantern after sunset."
The museum is expected to complete in 2017.