The library of the future according to Snøhetta

Scheduled to open in 2022, the Beijing Sub-Center Library is a forest of pillars hiding a landscape sculpted by stairways.

International competition winners, Norwegian firm Snøhetta has been assigned the design for Beijing’s new public library. The architecture – designed in collaboration with local partner ECADI – will be a contemporary space for collective learning and sharing. Therefore, the program is organized around a shared central area, the heart of the architecture.

Thanks to its entirely transparent façade, the library reveals itself to the outside, emphasizing its spaces thanks to the wide circulation space that connects the northern and southern sides with a valley sculpted by steps. From this landscape, the columns extend towards the roof: a canopy similar to a ginkgo forest where each element reflects in its shape also its technological value, in an essential architectural ecosystem.

Snøhetta, Beijing Sub-Center Library, Beijing, China, 2022. Image Plomp

The plan has been rhythmed by a rationalized structural grid to facilitate the use of modular components made mainly from local materials. To meet high standards of sustainability, the roof is also composed of integrated photovoltaic building elements, which replace conventional materials, using the roof’s primary exposure to sunlight for renewable energy production. The height of the facade glazing – 16 meters high and composed of Low-E performance insulated glass – has been reduced on the east and west facing walls, while an active solar shading device has been added on the south side.

Beijing Sub-Centre Library
Architecture studio:
Local partner:
Beijing, China

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