preston scott cohen: datong library under construction in china
preston scott cohen: datong library under construction in china preston scott cohen: datong library under construction in china
apr 19, 2013
preston scott cohen: datong library under construction in china

‘datong library’ by preston scott cohen, datong, shanxi province, china
image © preston scott cohen
all images courtesy of preston scott cohen



organized by a four-storey helical ramp lined with bookshelves and study carrels, preston scott cohen‘s design for the ‘datong library’ in
china seeks to mediate the tension between the two major roles of a central library using dynamic spaces and progressive circulation.
a main library serves as both a community center and an intellectual archive for individual study. these two programs are resolved with a
garden courtyard around which classrooms, a gallery, informal meeting rooms and an auditorium are arrayed. while the grand architectural
gesture is the ‘book ramp’ which ties four floors-worth of printed volumes together, the circuitous interior is perhaps best expressed in the
intricately tiled exterior. software intended for use in aircraft design was used to realize a complex skin that allows the envelope to visually
compress and expand so as to best express the dramatically soaring tectonic form. some of the facets are clad with glazed tiles, which allow
interior spaces to be generously awash with daylight. 




the complex tiled skin helps articulate the faceted form
image © preston scott cohen



the dynamic exterior hints at the ramps network within
image © preston scott cohen



staggered ‘book ramps’ characterize the interiors
image © preston scott cohen



quiet study spaces make their way into the light-filled program
image © preston scott cohen



the building is both a departure from and reflection of the landscape
image © preston scott cohen



circulation and approach was a central concern for the design
image © preston scott cohen



dusk views of the atrium and walkways
image © preston scott cohen




the skeleton of the building
image © preston scott cohen



construction view of structure
image © preston scott cohen



in progress column view
image © preston scott cohen



the structure behind the facets
image © preston scott cohen



in-progress view of the book ramp and atrium
image © preston scott cohen



structural beams
image © preston scott cohen



cladding begins
image © preston scott cohen



the skin alternates glazing and tiles
image © preston scott cohen



the architect during an on-site visit
image © preston scott cohen



light reflects off of the facets during construction
image © preston scott cohen



site view
image © preston scott cohen



full article here




project info:


client: datong city government
total area: 20,000 m2
project schedule: design– 2009-2010; construction– 2011-2013
project team: preston scott cohen, inc., cambridge, ma; preston scott cohen (architectural design); amit nemlich (project architect)
matthew allen, carl d’apolito-dworkin, collin gardner, michelle chang, juan jofre, mary stuckert, janna kauss (project assistants)

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library architecture and design (129 articles)