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Beijing City Library
Architects: Snøhetta
Year: 2023
Area: 75 000 m2
Location: Yi Hao Lu, Tong Zhou Qu, Bei Jing Shi, Kina

The Beijing City Library embodies a transformative vision for libraries, reinstating its relevance in the digital age and placing the cultivation of human connections at its forefront. As a key cultural landmark in Beijing’s newly established sub-center, the library stands as a contemporary hub for learning, knowledge-sharing, social interaction, and community engagement. At its heart lies a dynamic central forum, where a sculpted interior landform of stepped terraces creates a versatile communal space for visitors to relax, talk, or dive into reading.

The library boasts the world’s largest climatized reading space and China’s largest load-bearing glass system, leveraging innovative technology for an enhanced visitor experience and environmental responsibility. Its sustainable design has earned China’s GBEL Three Star, the highest attainable sustainability standard in the country, through efforts to reduce both the embodied and operational carbon.

The new library is located in Tongzhou District, a designated sub-center of Beijing that is often considered the eastern gateway of the capital. As one of three new major cultural buildings in Tongzhou, the Beijing City Library further establishes the area as both a vibrant district in itself and an extension of Beijing’s urban fabric. It anchors the neighborhood’s ambitious masterplan and will help to catalyze its transformation from a relatively undeveloped area into a lively arts and cultural destination. New transit links to Beijing’s center are underway, promising to further integrate Tongzhou with the city and drive visitors to the sub-center.

Snøhetta was awarded the Beijing City Library in 2018 through an international competition and the project was completed with local partner ECADI.

Photos by Zhu Yumeng