Hefei RIver Central Smart Garden Library by Geedesign

Curving stone walls surround the Hefei River Central Smart Garden Library in China

Chinese architecture studio Geedesign has completed a library in Hefei, China, with arcing stone-clad walls, planted courtyards and roof terraces.

Hefei River Central Smart Garden Library is located between a greenbelt area and the Fei River and a busy financial district at the edge of city.

Hefei RIver Central Smart Garden Library by Geedesign

The library provides kindergarten spaces for children as well as reading rooms and an audio visual space for adults.

Roof terraces, squares and courtyards function as public spaces for local people to enjoy, with the planting scheme included to act as a green lung for the city.

Hefei RIver Central Smart Garden Library by Geedesign

Wrapping the complex's various blocks in a 2.1-metre-high outer wall allowed for the mediation of views in and out of the spaces, opening out towards the river while minimising disturbance from the road.

"The design started from a cube that, through different techniques of reduction and overlay finished with a curved interface, subtly adapts to the surrounding environments," said Geedesign.

Hefei RIver Central Smart Garden Library by Geedesign

White stone for the Hefei River Central Smart Garden Library's walls contrast with glazed facades, shiny aluminium panels and wooden grills.

"The use of black, white and grey makes the building look like a sculpture, while the brown of the wood brings a sense of warmth," said the studio.

Hefei RIver Central Smart Garden Library by Geedesign

The curved wall opens onto a square at the entrance on the north side of the building.

Circular areas of paving and stepped levels in the square are intended to encourage visitors to stop and dwell.

Hefei RIver Central Smart Garden Library by Geedesign

Behind the outer wall, the reading rooms have large glazed facades, visually connecting the space to the outdoors and with the adjacent river, towards which the audio-visual room cantilevers out.

"On the first floor, glass is used to create a sense of transparency, to make it appear as a 'floating island'," said the practice.

"On the second floor, frosted glass is used to create a sense of privacy."

Hefei RIver Central Smart Garden Library by Geedesign

Deep, angled reveals in the stone panelling draw visitors in through the lobby, beginning a conceptual flow through the space that the architects hope will blend the interior with the exterior.

"The primary and secondary courtyards interact with each other, enriching the vision of the readers and visitors and easing their eyestrain," said the practice.

Hefei RIver Central Smart Garden Library by Geedesign

The concept of bringing nature into a library building was recently explored by MSR Design and JRA Architects, whose green-roofed building is partially concealed by tall trees.

Jean Nouvel also recently completed a library for the University of Cyprus designed as an artificial hill in the landscape.


Project credits:

Client: Vanke, China Cinda, OCT Experience

Architect: Geedesign

Design team: Ye Di, Xie Hu, Ye Haiting

More images and plans

Site plan of Hefei RIver Central Smart Garden Library by Geedesign
Site plan
Ground floor plan of Hefei RIver Central Smart Garden Library by Geedesign
Ground floor plan
First floor plan of Hefei RIver Central Smart Garden Library by Geedesign
Ground floor plan
Second floor plan of Hefei RIver Central Smart Garden Library by Geedesign
Second floor plan
Section of Hefei RIver Central Smart Garden Library by Geedesign