last week marked the ground-breaking ceremony of danish practice schmidt hammer lassen’s first library in china, located in the port city of ningbo. founded in 1927, the original library possesses a long heritage of having the largest and diverse collection of historic and ancient books in the region. with this expansive array of reading material, the structure planned, will be able to house over 2 million books in a building of 30,000sqm. sitting at the edge of a new ecological wetland, the development will become a cultural hub for the new east town. meanwhile, the organizational strategy is based on an open marketplace, where an 8,000 sqm open-plan space consisting of the popular  library functions and collections- all based on the ground floor.

the space is organized around a single open marketplace
all images courtesy of schmidt hammer lassen architects



at the core of the library, a central atrium in the form of a giant book stack containing study desks, reading booths, internet stations and media spaces connect the open marketplace at ground level to the private research and historic collections above. shaped like a bookshelf, this will bring natural light deep in to the heart of the library during the day and act as an urban lantern at night. furthermore, having this ‘marketplace’ arrangement will establish a visual connection to the public plaza, the lake and the park- a consistent theme seen in SHL’s library designs.

the aim is that with the new library the visitor count will increase to 7-8,000 visits per day

SHL architects who won the competition in 2013 to design the 240 million rmb (€ 29 million) central library