nanjing, china (2007)
site area: 6ha
gross floor area: 51,000m2
this design acknowledges and develops the library’s changing role on the university campus: becoming a knowledge hub. it’s a place where ideas are imparted not only from books, but through discussion, debate and events, supplemented by commercial and retail activities, reflecting its role as a social centre.
conference and event facilities are located on the ground floor. this encourages and allows direct engagement with public entry spaces. acknowledging the library’s ’round the clock’ opening hours, retail and food facilities are located in the public plaza.
the new library building establishes multiple and variable local relationships with the buildings in its immediate vicinity, creating a spatial counterpoint to the campus master plan through a series of inflected and modulated filaments, or ‘finger’ elements, grouped together in an aggregated whole.
in order to allow a building like this library to foster variable scales of operational use and accommodate the passage of large numbers of people in an orderly manner appropriate for a library, lab employed the format of a linear or looped circulation spine, off which reading rooms and adjacent support spaces are created.