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Our winning competition entry for a 1.2-million-square-foot library draws its inspiration from the oldest surviving library in the world, at Tianyi Ge, where the books are housed on a densely packed floor, separate from reading rooms that are contiguous with the palace gardens. In our design, four open levels provide distinct library environments, each connected to exterior gardens at every level, as well as to each other, resulting in a continuous public interior. Supported – both structurally and programmatically – by the compact book storage levels below, we imagine these open floors to function as the city’s Patio, Living Room, Atelier, and Study. “Library as Home” reinvents an institution through the lens of intimate domestic environments, reflecting on the evolving role of libraries to provide social, civic, and informal gathering spaces.

The cylindrical form of the building results in a compact urban presence and gives over a significant portion of its site to the public. The panels of its terra cotta skin evoke the dimensions of an A4 sheet of paper and the first printing blocks, which were invented in China and made of the same material.


Supported – both structurally and programmatically – by compact levels below, we imagine the open floors to function as the city’s Patio, Living Room, Atelier and Study: a Library as Home.

Client: Pudong New Area Planning and Land Authority, Pudong New District Propaganda Department (Cultural Media Bureau), The Architectural Society of Shanghai China, “Time Architecture” magazine
Location: Shanghai, China
Status: Concept design, 1st prize entry, Young Architects Competition
Dates: 2016
Sq Footage: 1.2 mil sf (110,000 m2)
Program: Library

Design Team:  Eric Bunge, Mimi Hoang | Albert Figueras | Wei Wen, Jessica Cheung, You Chia Lai

Renderings: Sonaar
Model Photography: James Ewing