Vector Architects completes a seaside library with board-marked concrete walls


This cast-concrete library sits on a stretch of deserted beach facing the East China Sea and features a tiered reading hall topped by a curving ceiling (+ movie).

Seashore Library by Vector Architects

Beijing studio Vector Architects built the aptly named Seashore Library on the white sands of a beach in Nandaihe, a coastal region in eastern China.

Seashore Library by Vector Architects

A tiered reading room occupies the centre of the two-storey library, while a meditation space, activity room, and bar occupy auxiliary areas around its edges.

Seashore Library by Vector Architects

The cast in-situ concrete walls are imprinted with the grain of their timber formwork – influenced by the rippled markings left behind on the sand by the wind and water.

Seashore Library by Vector Architects

"It implies a mark of memory in time," said the architects. "Wood grains are the marks of realisation process that we want to leave on the library. Also, it softens the hardness of concrete with warmth."

Seashore Library by Vector Architects

"From outside, it looks like a weathered rock that is pure and solid; but inside, what it contains is the rich feelings and experiences," they added. "When walking into the space, one starts to feel the light, breezes, and sound of the ocean. In here, everyone can slow down the usual pace, and unfold the feeling of distance and loneliness different from the city life."


Timber floorboards that resonate with the board-marked walls cover the terraced reading area and an L-shaped platform that brackets the space at the upper level.

Seashore Library by Vector Architects

Seating and study areas arranged on the stepped levels like the stalls of a theatre face a glazed wall that overlooks the sea.

Seashore Library by Vector Architects

"The ocean is an ever-changing character and continues to alter from season to season, morning to night," said the design team. "It is like a drama play of nature. As if giving the stage to this character of the ocean, we piled up seating platforms raised toward the back, so that everyone has an unblocking view to the stage."


A curving concrete ceiling patterned with small circular openings arches over the reading room. The holes allow light and air to filter into the space, while a row of small slanted oval windows run along the back wall.

Seashore Library by Vector Architects

Pivoting glass doors along the ground level to open the reading room to the beach. A panoramic window and section of glass brickwork set above these doors provide varying degrees of natural lighting for the upper-floor space.

Seashore Library by Vector Architects

While the sea-facing aspect is predominantly glazed, slabs of concrete and strips of laminated timber dominate the facade looking inland.

Seashore Library by Vector Architects

A passage is cut through one side of the block, providing access from the rear of the site. A cast-concrete flap that projects from the wall of this underpass is propped at an angle by a metal pole to shade a second floor window.

Seashore Library by Vector Architects

A dimly lit meditation room with a concave concrete ceiling sits to one side of the brightly lit upper floor. Two narrow openings – one horizontal and one vertical – light the space from the east and west to capture the subdued light of sunrise and sunset.

Seashore Library by Vector Architects

A glass door opens onto a wedge-shaped terrace where a flight of stairs ascends to a concave roof terrace. Within the hollow rooftop, the sound of the ocean can be heard but the water is out of sight.

Seashore Library by Vector Architects

An activity room with its own private balcony occupies an angled concrete box on the other side of the triangular terrace. Horizontal lightwells in the east and west walls illuminate the space throughout the day.

Project credits:

Client: Beijing Rocfly Investment (Group) CO., LTD
Design Firm:Vector Architects
Principal Architect: Gong Dong
Project Architect: Chen Liang
Site Architect: Yifan Zhang, Dongping Sun
Design Team: Zhiyong Liu, Hsi Chao Chen, Hsi Mei Hsieh

Seashore Library by Vector Architects
Site plan – click for larger image
Seashore Library by Vector Architects
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Seashore Library by Vector Architects
First floor plan – click for larger image
Seashore Library by Vector Architects
Section one – click for larger image
Seashore Library by Vector Architects
Section two – click for larger image
Seashore Library by Vector Architects
Section three – click for larger image
Seashore Library by Vector Architects
Section four – click for larger image
Seashore Library by Vector Architects
Section five – click for larger image
  • Balzac_Oslo

    This appears to be a library with no books in a location with no readers.

  • Kalum

    Sorry, couldn’t resist…

  • Bradley

    Would it be safe to assume that the Chinese authorities are building these places, not necessarily out of need, but out of a desire to showcase their (countries) architects talent?

    It would seem that a lot of the time, the buildings aren’t feasible or justifiable but it provides an outlet for architectural development/freedom.

    • SITU

      It’s doubtful that such structures are commissioned by the authorities. This is probably built by a developer as an amenity to a residential development. That’s why it’s a building with no real function nor program.

    • Chang

      Truly doubt it. The Chinese government couldn’t care less about its citizens/architects really. After all, it is a Communist government that to this day controls internet access, religious freedoms and continually violates human rights on a daily basis i.e. women’s right to child birth and infant gender manipulation via forced abortions.

      These random architectural moments are, if anything, built to inflate their already artificially manufactured GDP to try and fool the world into thinking Communism is flourishing. All a fallacy of course.

      Beautiful building though.

      • theyear2015

        Hi friends, not trying to be d*ck, but your post contains some very common misconceptions about China, and I would encourage you to research your opinions and facts a little more.

        Six and seven are the ones pertaining to your post.

        Also in the name of libraries and learning, I would encourage you to look into Communism and what it actually is. It’s difficult to relearn about a topic after decades of systemic mis-education, but it can be very liberating.

        Beautiful building though.

        • Chang

          I actually live here… Shanghai, but lived most of my life in Shenyang. You’re falling for the typical Communist propaganda. Come live anywhere in China and start to talk to people here, specially women, who work in labour camps and you will quickly realise how un-liberating it all is.

          You might also catch a glimpse at kids as young as five years old mandated to work full days in deplorable conditions in our factories. Monks and nuns are beaten and jailed on a everyday basis. Other times killed. This happens a lot. It happens too often.

        • Blake

          You just stuck your foot in your very own mouth, dude. Did you read your link before you posted? In particular #6.

          Last November, the Chinese Communist Party REFORMED the policy to allow any Chinese family to have a second child “IF” one of the parents is an only child. In addition to that, ethnic minorities and peasants are allowed to have another child “IF” their first is female.

          What happens when the “IFs” don’t apply?

          Maybe production is no longer collectivised (people who live in China will disagree), there are a great number of industries and businesses – most of the largest ones – that are partly state-owned. These industries include the banks, all major natural resources companies, the media, the steel industry, utilities, ground and air transportation, etc.

          Yes, many of these are publicly traded corporations but the government still holds the most shares. The internet is also strictly controlled. If that’s not Communism dude, I don’t know what is.

        • Derma

          Great source for credible news… Degreed, haha. Any country whose government owns the media is a Communist country, period. This whole rebranding of Communism thing is sick.

          The whole idea that Communism just hasn’t worked because it hasn’t been executed property is ridiculous. Incredible-Hulk people get blinded by theory and conveniently overlook facts and history, all the while feeling smarter than those who actually witnessed it.

          • Aleksandar Kochovski

            A country that owns the media is not Communist, it just means it’s a dictatorship. A country in which no business, including industry, agriculture and services, are private, i.e. a country where all aspects of economy are state-owned, is a Communist country.

            By definition, it’s a very good system, but it cannot be implemented in real life, as it’s a Utopian system, and a Utopia cannot exist in real life. Trying to actually implement it in a world with conditions such as ours is stupid, but it really could work in a world ruled by computers and robots.

        • Rene

          Here’s a link you might want to look at. Don’t mean to be a d**k, but I must worn you this one relies on reality:

  • Joe

    Very nice!

  • Absolutely beautiful, just wondering about the fate of the ground floor in the event of a storm surge?

  • Trent

    Beautiful. :)

  • Dylan Milne

    Grand People’s library that doubles for a bunker for the glorious defence of China.

  • Vigarano

    As @TheIdleArchitect noted below, gorgeous until the first storm surge. Or tsunami.

  • Leo

    Beautiful. I find the combination of bookless library, bar, deserted beach and location next to a new neighbourhood very creepy.

    “A dimly lit meditation room (…) sits to one side of the brightly lit upper floor”. Dimly or brightly?

  • mik

    Nice renders.

    • lin

      Seems to be the real pictures.

  • Joseph Strawbridge

    Brutally sad destruction of the landscape.

  • Jess Thinkin

    Hate to be a curmudgeon, but there’ll be too much salt in the books and sand on the floors!

  • lin

    Good job anyway. There must be half of the people who don’t like what you do, only because their life sucks.

  • Gabriel Villalobos

    This would work better as a spa.

  • alexwills

    Library as folly.

  • Norskfisk

    Despite the fact that the Chinese government is always a controversial issue to some, the architecture firm really has to work on the renderings and photos. Crowd hanging out and playing around, with a touch of promising light and atmosphere will do a better job!

  • Conor

    Stunning and bizarre.

  • rodrigo

    This could also work for an insane asylum.

  • hasle

    Not exactly “secluded” – it is on a strip of quasi “private” beach belonging to a luxury real estate development two hours from Beijing. Funded by, guess who, the developers. It has already attracted a lot of visitors (apparently more people taking pictures than going inside to read books).