Set on the hillside above Shuangyue Bay near Huizhou City in China's Guangdong Province, the library consists of two geometric forms – a circular library and a long white wall.
"The library strives to have poetic tension: looking down from a high place, the building is very geometric – a circle plus a straight line," explained 3andwich Design.
"The plane shape of the main part of the building is circular, and the straight line is the outdoor corridor and long wall, which introduces people from the top of the hill into the building."
Embedded into the hillside, the single-storey library is made up of a round reading room surrounding a central dark room.
Shelving is integrated into the internal wall, while full-height glazing gives views out across the sea. Flanking the main reading room is a tea room, water bar and toilets.
"The indoor tone of the reading area is mainly white, light gray and other bright colors, and the curve shape is used to create a relaxing and fashionable atmosphere," said 3andwich Design.
"Seats and small tables are placed along the outer glass curtain wall, where readers can read quietly and overlook the scenery."
"The bookshelves are arranged in a ring along the inner wall and extend outward in the ceiling and ground areas to form a cloud-like shape," the studio continued.
"The part extending to the ground also becomes a free reading area, where some readers who do not want to sit upright can enjoy the afternoon time with books here."
A stair leads up to the roof area, where 3andwich Design placed a circular pool directly above the library to create the idea of the space being underwater.
A platform in the pool, which has no external railing, can be reached by a series of stepping stones.
"The section of the building roof is bowl-shaped, and the transparent glass in the reading area gives the roof a sense of suspension," said the studio.
"Inside the bowl-shaped roof is a pool, which gives the building a kind of dramatic implication – an underwater library."
Along with the main entrance, 3andwich Design created a "hidden path" that leads up to the roof space and pool so that readers can be taken on a journey to reach the library space.
"The process of entering the library is not simple," said the studio. "Because the building is located on a hill and we designed a tortuous path on the north slope of the hill."
"Readers need to step up and understand the pain of learning in their slightly tired bodies. Therefore, it is also called 'a path to the mountain of books'," it continued
"When you reach the top of the mountain, you can see a straight corridor and a long wall, which guide people towards the sea and building with a 'tough' attitude. What readers need to do is to follow this arrangement and be guided into the underwater library."
Bejing-based 3andwich Design's previous projects include a concrete bar extending out over a river in the village of Wangjiatuan and a tourist centre designed with He Wei Studio overlooking a limestone canyon in Guizhou Province.
The photography is by Jin Weiqi.
Architectural and interior design: 3andwich Design / He Wei Studio
Principal architects: He Wei, Chen Long
Project architects: Wang Ziyi(architecture), Meng Xiangting (interior)
Design team: Zhou Junjie, Wan Yuexiao, Liu Song, Sang Wanchen, Liu Yong, Zhu Yanming, Yan Ziming
Structure engineer: Pan Congjian
Landscape design: TOPOS Landscape Architects
Lighting design: Guangzhu International Lighting Design Co
Owner design management team: Luo Shaochuan, Liu Shaowen, Yu Yanfei, Li Guohao
Owner Engineering Management team: Liu Zhifei, Lin Yonghua
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