MVRDV has won a competition for the design of the Wuhan Library in China, in collaboration with local design institute UAD. The 1.5 million-square-foot scheme is defined by three large openings in its flowing facade and will become one of the largest libraries in China upon its completion.
The library’s flowing form draws inspiration from the “sculptural force” of Wuhan’s rivers. Inside, the motif is continued through a stepped terrace of books that seeks to evoke the aura of a canyon. Pavilion-like spaces on the terraces host the library’s various functions, including reading and group work areas, while a broad ground floor hosts an anchoring public space.
“Going inside, certain landscape elements come together,” said MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs about the scheme. “There is a series of plateaus that can be used for studying. The biggest one will be for the more popular areas. The higher up you go, the quieter the study and reading spaces will be, serving the needs of visitors.”
Each of the building’s three large picture windows are positioned to frame a particular view. The tallest of the three windows faces the CBD’s skyline, while a low, wide window offers panoramic views of a nearby park. The third window, a long, curving opening, embraces an adjacent plaza.
“The topography of Wuhan was an important source of inspiration,” van Rijs added. “We have this idea of a horizontal view towards the lakes and on the other hand, we have this more vertical view towards the city with the high rises. This is nature versus the city, and the building is somehow focusing on this. I think this makes it an exciting place to gather.”
The building’s sustainability agenda includes facade louvers arranged in a bookshelf pattern, with a varying density responding to the interior uses. Meanwhile, solar panels have been incorporated into the library’s flowing roof form, while openable elements in the facade combine with smart lighting devices to reduce the building’s operational energy use.
The library is one of several MVRDV projects to feature on our editorial. last week, the firm won a competition to design a new resilient water network in Taiwan, while last month, the firm collaborated with GRAS Reynes Arquitectos on the completion of a mixed-use district in Mallorca, Spain. In November, the studio launched a digital tool to demonstrate the design possibilities for Rotterdam’s rooftops, while also completing the renovation of a mixed-use scheme in Paris.
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