gmp architekten designs library in china with intelligent storage system that holds 7 million books

gmp architekten designs library in china with intelligent storage system that holds 7 million books

gmp architekten recently completed the suzhou no. 2 library, located to the north of the historic suzhou city center. the traditional cultural chinese city will have more than a new library since the project also includes a new park landscape. the new library hosts integrated specialist libraries, collections, and exhibition rooms, making the building become a cultural hub for the people.





gmp architekten designed a key feature for the library: an intelligent storage system with a capacity of seven million books. with the suzhou no. 2 library, the city has built the first library in china that, in addition to the traditional library functions, features a fully automated intelligent storage system above ground. 





the library derives its unique appearance from the unusual shape of the building and the facade of elegant aluminum louvers. the floor area at ground level was kept to a minimum and arranged parallel to the street, and the upper stories cantilever outwards with a slight twist. this geometrical gesture produces more reading areas with good views of the surrounding landscape. 





the architects created the library’s volume referencing a slightly offset stack of books or reams of paper. to reflect the different functional requirements of the publicly accessible area and the book depository, the new library building consists of two connected parts—the upper floors and the podium. 





the closed facade of the book depository features exposed concrete cast in a wooden formwork that reveals texture and movement in the facade. above that, the building’s public areas are clad in transparent glazing, lending a beautiful view of the landscape. the intelligent high-bay storage facility with closed facade is located in the northern part of the site, whereas the reading hall with its transparent facade lies to the south, opening out to the city. it contains six main levels above ground with a story height of 5.7 meters.





the two parts of the building are separated by a central axis running from east to west that forms a plaza accessible to the public. the main entrances to the library are also located on both sides of the raised plaza. in addition, the plaza provides access to the park by providing public access across the site and inviting guests to both parts of the building. the plaza creates a functional link between the interior and the exterior and integrates the library with its diverse cultural functions into the urban fabric.










project info:


competition: 2014 – 1st prize

design: meinhard von gerkan and nikolaus goetze with magdalene weiss

competition lead: kong buhong, martin friedrich

competition design team: ren peiying, fabian schlitt, kan lijing, mustafa obaid, wang yiqun, zhang bowei

detailed design lead: yan lyuji

detailed design team: bai yunjie, martin friedrich,kong buhong, li chen, qian lie, ren peiying, sun yu, xu xufeng, yao yao, shi xiaohui

project management: pan mei

structural engineering: schlaich bergermann partner

facade consulting: sup ingenieure gmbh

landscape architecture: wes gmbh landschaftsarchitektur

partner firm in china: architects & engineers, co., ltd. of southeast university

client: suzhou library

completion: 2019

gross area: 45,300 m²

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