MVRDV unveils a 'canyon of books' for new central library in wuhan, china

MVRDV unveils a 'canyon of books' for new central library in wuhan, china

MVRDV wins competition for new library design in wuhan

 

Dutch architecture practice MVRDV has won the competition to build a new 140,000 square-meter central library in Wuhan, China. Designed together with local design institute UAD, the building is intended to serve as a recognizable landmark, taking cues from the local geography and celebrating the sculptural power of rivers not only in its form but also in its internal character. Emerging like a ‘canyon of books’, the eye-catching structure combines both traditional and non-traditional functions with various study and lounge spaces, while its three large openings serve as visual representations of life inside the building, arousing curiosity.

MVRDV unveils a 'canyon of books' for new central library in wuhan, china
the design takes advantage of the building’s highly visible location | image courtesy of MVRDV (also head image)

 

 

a sculptural canyon offering panoramic views

 

The flowing, three-faced building by MVRDV and UAD reflects the landscape of Wuhan in its volumetry, spatial qualities, as well as its materials. More specifically, its form references the varying heights of the surrounding buildings, while the structure also incorporates three dramatic panoramic windows that look out over the city at different vantage points. Each opening is focused on a particular view: The tallest of the three windows faces the downtown skyline; a low, wide window offers a panoramic view of the park opposite; and a long, curved window hugs the adjacent plaza, offering passersby a glimpse into the library.

 

The Dutch architects designed the interior concept to highlight Wuhan’s position at the convergence of rivers, surrounded by the urban landscape. Stepped beechwood terraces mimic the sculptural lines of a canyon, and the first floor features a wide public space that visitors can use throughout the day. Pavilion-like spaces on the terraces house the library’s various programs, while the canyon gives shape to different zones and interior experiences, with quiet reading areas, group study areas, and bookshelves as part of its topography.

MVRDV unveils a 'canyon of books' for new central library in wuhan, china
the large openings serve as displays of life inside the building | image courtesy of Sora

 

 

focusing on sustainability and reduced energy consumption

 

The library is surrounded by a park adapted to the climatic conditions of Wuhan to ensure long-term and sustainable maintenance. Tall trees provide cooling in areas of intense sunlight, while the main public areas are shaded by the northwest corner of the building.

 

To reduce energy consumption, the façade incorporates louvers in a bookshelf-like pattern that reflects the building’s function while shading the interior. These louvers are more densely spaced in areas that require the most sun protection. Openable elements for natural ventilation combined with the use of smart appliances and an efficient lighting system further reduce the building’s energy needs, while solar panels integrated into the library’s flowing roof forms provide the building with renewable energy.

MVRDV unveils a 'canyon of books' for new central library in wuhan, china
solar panels incorporated into the library’s flowing roof shapes | image courtesy of Sora

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the form of the building references the varying heights of the surrounding buildings | image courtesy of MVRDV

MVRDV unveils a 'canyon of books' for new central library in wuhan, china
the building’s plinth is set back to create large cantilevers that offer shade | image courtesy of Sora

mvrdv-canyon-books-library-wuhan-china-designboom-full

three dramatic picture windows face the city at different vantage points | image courtesy of MVRDV

MVRDV unveils a 'canyon of books' for new central library in wuhan, china
the stepped terraces of books invoke the sculptural lines of a canyon | image courtesy of MVRDV

mvrdv-canyon-books-library-wuhan-china-designboom-full-03

the interior concept highlights Wuhan’s position at the convergence of rivers | image courtesy of MVRDV

MVRDV unveils a 'canyon of books' for new central library in wuhan, china
at an urban level, the grand interior canyon draws visitors inside | image courtesy of MVRDV

 

 

project info:

 

name: New Wuhan Central Library
architects: MVRDV and UAD

founding partner in charge: Jacob van Rijs
partner: Wenchian Shi
design team (competition): Olga Marelja, Yunxi Guo, Ilaria Furbetta, Andrius Ribikauskas, Gioele Colombo, Jiameng Li, Americo Iannazzone, Cosimo Scotucci, Xiaodong Luo
design team (schematic design): Olga Marelja, Yunxi GuoIlaria FurbettaAlberto MenozziXiaodong LuoJiameng Li
environmental advisor: Arjen Ketting
MVRDV NEXT: Leo Stuckardt
visualisations: Antonio Luca Coco, Angelo La Delfa, Luana La Martina, Marco Fabri, Stefania Trozzi, Luis Moreno Perona, Ciprian Buzdugan
video: Pavlos Ventouris, Lorenzo D’Alessandro, Kirill Emelianov
copyright: MVRDV Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries
co-architect: UAD
model makers: RJ Models
renders: © MVRDV, © SORA Images

ARCHITECTURE IN CHINA (1555)

LIBRARY ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN (240)

MVRDV (190)

UAD (9)

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