Library - South University of Science and Technology | The Plan
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Library - South University of Science and Technology

Urbanus Architecture & Design

Six years ago Urbanus Architecture & Design was invited to participate in the competition for the library project of the South University of Science and Technology. They provided a sustainable planning strategy that merged the campus with the surrounding environment, creating a blended fabric of old and new. Their project cast into question the practice of erasing all trace of the past when building a new college campus. Unfortunately, the client refused this proposal and Urbanus had to accept the project now realized: a library on a site created by sweeping away the former buildings. The only thing left standing was an old Banyan tree, now in opposition to the building corridor, and the only remnant of what was on the site before.

The main ground floor entrance divides the building into two parts. The first floor is intended to provide people with views into four different spaces, while the second floor is a compact rectangular block with sequential environments lit by light shafts and a courtyard. The slightly concave rectangular façade softens the hiatus between the edge of the building and the rest of the neighborhood. The façade stands opposite an empty plaza. The semi unitized curtain wall gives the whole building a semi-transparent appearance. The various modules are stacked at different angles, a strategy that takes daylight into the interior. More than a library, I see this architecture as an urban design plan on a micro-scale: an urban microcosm where complex function, people and different spatial uses all combine. The bright high-density fiber cement panel makes this “Micro City” a landmark in its context.

Designing and building in modern China today means facing many difficulties, including far from perfect surrounds and outlook. Chinese architects today have to deal with the huge complexity of urban transformation that brings much uncertainty along with low-cost but high-speed construction methods....

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