new Shanghai East Library

Ground breaking for the new Shanghai East Library by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects




new Shanghai East Library
Image © Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects have revealed new visuals of the Shanghai East Library, adjacent to Century Park the largest park in the city spread over 140 hectares, that officially broke ground on Wednesday 27 September. The new east branch of Shanghai Library will serve 4 million visitors a year, host more than 1,200 lectures and activities as well as being home to 4.8 million books.

new Shanghai East Library
Image © Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

The project is conceived as a singular monolithic object floating above the tree canopy within the park. The main library volume floats above two pavilions that will house a 1000 seat performance venue, exhibition and events space and a dedicated children’s library, that will all open up towards a series of landscaped courtyards and gardens.

new Shanghai East Library
Image © Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

“The Shanghai Library client had a vision for the library – the future of the library should be a space for inspiration, learning, exchange and creation. We wanted to create a building that focussed on people and create spaces that are interconnected and inclusive. The aim is to create a building that feels like a second home for the citizens of Shanghai.” said Chris Hardie, Partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen.

new Shanghai East Library
Image © Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

The library itself is organised around a grand central atrium in the form of three staggered reading rooms that open up and connect to various parts of the library and various contextual parts of the city from Century Park to the east, a new library park to the south and the city to the north and west. The library volume is carved and twisted to reflect the surrounding park and sky, and continuously clad in a facade of clear, insulated and fritted glass. The glass panels are arranged in horizontal bands of varying transparency giving the building the appearance of a striated rock with many layers.

new Shanghai East Library
Image © Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Clear glass will allow users unobstructed views of the surrounding parkland and cityscape, whilst areas of semi-transparent glass and insulated glass will control solar gain while allowing light to penetrate at high level deep into the building plan. In addition to the open market place floors, and a central atrium to discover new collections, exhibitions and events there will be a series of open reading spaces along each facade allowing patrons to connect back to their city from various points within the library space.

new Shanghai East Library
Image © Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

The new building will be a hybrid library, where readers can enjoy both paper and digital reading. It will be inclusive, intelligent and innovative with five main functions – a resource center, a knowledge exchange center, a technology experience center, a think tank and an international communication platform. The completed library is expected to be open to the public by the end of 2020. Source by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects.

new Shanghai East Library
Image © Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • Location: Shanghai, China
  • Architect: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
  • Project Team: Morten Schmidt (Partner), Chris Hardie (Partner), Rong Lu (Partner), Jing Lin (Project Lead), Steven Morton (Project Lead), Tasha Ye Feng, Michelle Tang, Chencheng Li, Simon Persson, Steven Ying Nien Chen, Bartek Winnicki, Tim Kunkel, Xinghua Zu, Tade Godbersen, Dong Liang, Lukasz Truchalski, Sicong Liu, Beihong Mao, Mavis Lian
  • Local Collaboration Architect: SIADR
  • Structural Engineer: Schlaich Bergermann Partner (Shanghai & Stuttgart)
  • Climate & Environmental Engineer: Transsolar (Munich)
  • Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Buro Happold (Beijing & London)
  • Facade Engineer: Drees & Sommer (Shanghai & Stuttgart)
  • Visuals: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, Beauty & the Bit
  • Client: Shanghai Library
  • Area: 115,000m2
  • Competition: 2016, 1st prize, international competition
  • Completed: 2020
  • Images: Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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