Beijing’s Breathtaking Glass and Stick Library (The Best of Book Riot)

Much of the good ship Book Riot is off at Book Expo America this week, so we’re running some of our best stuff from the first half of 2013. We’ll be back with reports from BEA next week and our usual array of new book-nerdery.

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How do you create a breathtakingly modern reading space that doesn’t compete with the natural wooded beauty of rural Beijing?

You build a minimal glass cube and cover it up with sticks. At least that’s what you do if you’re brilliant architect Li Xiaodong Atelier.

Liyuang Library Beijing China

Positioned within the small Jiaojiehe village, the Liyuan Library is about two hours from Beijing’s dense urban center in Huairou County, nestled within an awesome forested mountain landscape.

Liyuang Library Beijing China

The architect used ordinary sticks to form a screen that conceals the library’s glass facade. And talk about reclaimed materials: the sticks were found scattered around the village in woodpiles used as fuel for cooking stoves. (It doesn’t get any more local than that.)

liyuanglibrary5

The interior of the 175 meter glass cube uses simple steps, platforms, and integrated shelving to create distinct seating areas, and the stick exterior scatters sunlight evenly throughout the space for an otherworldly reading ambiance.

Liyuang Library Beijing China

Visitors have to walk about five minutes from the village center to reach the library. The architects designed it this way on purpose because they wanted visitors to be able to clear their thoughts for reading and quiet contemplation during the short walk. 

Liyuang Library Beijing China

How incredible is that?

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