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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
Client: Vanke, China Cinda, OCT Experience
Design team: Ye Di, Xie Hu, Ye Haiting