Seashore Library, China / Vector Architects

Architect                                   : Vector Architecs

Design Team                           : Zhiyong Liu, Hsi Chao Chen, Hsi Mei Hsieh

Location                                    : Bei Hai He, China

Type                                           : Library

Area                                           : 450 sqm

Material                                    : Concrete, Laminated Bamboo Slate, Glass Block

Year                                           : 2015

The library is located along the seashore of China Bohai Bay. The design key point is focused on exploring the co-existing relationship of the space boundary, the movement of human body, the shifting light ambience, the air ventilating through and the ocean view. The library faces the ocean to its east. During seasons of spring, summer and fall, it not only serves the community residents at west, but opens to the public as well. 

Ocean, an ever-changing character continues to alter from season to season, morning to night. It is like a drama play of nature. As if giving the stage to this character of ocean, we pile up seating platforms raised toward the back, so that everyone has an unblocking view to the stage. Toward the sea, the building is enclosed by a series of operable glass walls at ground level. When the weather is nice, the walls are open to the sea directly connecting inside and outside. On top of these pivot walls is a horizontal view window that goes across the library; it is the main framing of sea view. To avoid interruption from any structural component, all the roof loads are carried by the steel trusses running above the view window. On both sides of steel trusses, we infill hand-crafted glass block masonries into wall. The wall softens the hardness of steel trusses. Furthermore, the translucency of such material is sensitive to light. It transforms both natural and artificial light to inside and outside throughout different time of the day, smoothly changing the ambience of the building.

The half-arched roof opens toward the sea and implies the main subject of the space. Meanwhile, the curvature allows wide span running both north-south and east-west directions. Several 30cm diameter circular openings are inserted and array on the roofing structure. They can be open when the weather is allowed, and help to ventilate indoor air. During three seasons of the year – spring, summer and fall, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm every day, sunlight would stream through those narrow air passage ways and project light spots inside and meandering through space with time shift.

The meditation space is sitting aside from reading area. In contrast to the reading area that is bright, evenly distributed light, open and public, meditation space is rather dimmed, sharp of light and shadows, enclosed and private. There are two slim openings, 30cm wide, on east and west side of the room. One is horizontal and one in vertical; one captures the light of sunrise and the other grasps the sunset illumination. In this room, a drastic roof curved pushes the ceiling down low. Above this curve, it creates a low terrace to the roof top. At this area, people hear the sound of ocean, though the vision is out of reach.

CIte: Gooood.hk. (2017). Seashore Library, Bei Daihe, China by Vector Architects. [online] Available at: http://www.gooood.hk/seashore-library-by-vector.htm [Accessed 3 Dec. 2017].

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