The Water Drop Library / 3andwich Design / He Wei Studio
Site conditions: co-existing benefits and challenges. The building is located in Shuangyue Bay Central Park, Pinghai Town, Huizhou City, Guangdong Province, China. The park is between the ancient town of Pinghai and the sea, not far from the famous Shuangyue Bay Turtle Reserve. The overall terrain of the park is high in the north and low in the south, with hills and valleys in the north and the sea in the south. The project base is near the center of the park and is an independent and prominent “peninsular” hill. The trend of the hill is from northeast to southwest, so the view in the north is dominated by hills and valleys, and the view in the south is 270 degrees of excellent sea view. The hills in the park are gentle in form and not magnificent, but there are a number of rocks, which provide important support for the formation of the landscape.
There are also challenges in the base: several residential buildings exist in the east and southeast of the base, and the high volume of the residence blocks the view of the building to a certain extent. In addition, the height of the library must be strictly controlled to avoid blocking the view of low-rise residents on the north side of the building to look at the sea. There is a multi-story building southwest of the park, the appearance is not ideal, and it also has a negative impact on the sea view of the library.
Location and shape: a white library under a pool of water. The design strives to integrate the cultural characteristic of the library, the environmental characteristic of the site and the public characteristic of contemporary society. The location of the building is planned at the end of the mountain top and arranged at the cliff mouth according to the topographic height difference. The building is integrated with the hill and becomes part of the site. Such treatment can not only make the library have the largest viewing surface, but also control the height of the building to the greatest extent on the premise of reducing the amount of earthwork, without obstructing the view of the sea from the residence behind.
The modeling of the library strives to have poetic tension: if you look from a high place, the building is very geometric – a circle plus a straight line. The level shape of the main part of the building is circular, and the straight line is the outer corridor and long wall, which leads people into the building from the top of the hill. The entire library is white, and the edges of the corridor, long wall and roof reinforce the sense of geometric composition. The portion of the building’s roof is bowl-shaped, and the transparent glass in the reading area gives the roof a sense of suspension. Inside the bowl-shaped roof is a swimming pool, which gives the building a kind of dramatic implication – an underwater library.
The long wall not only protects the adverse factors in the southwest of the site, but also plays a leading role. It draws people’s attention to the pool and the sea and leads readers to approach and enter the building along this particular line. At sunset, before the sun falls into the sea, there will be a few minutes of the setting sun lengthening the shadows along the long wall and corridor. It gives a romantic color to the building.
Spatial sequence: overlapping of light and dark, opening and closing, detour and straightness
The process of entering the library is not simple. Because the building is located on a hill, the architects designed a winding path on the northern slope of the hill. Readers must act and understand the pain of learning in their slightly tired bodies. That is why it is also called “a road to the mountain of books”. When you reach the top of the mountain, you can see a straight passage and a long wall, leading people with a “hard” attitude to the sea and building. What readers have to do is follow this arrangement and be guided into the underwater library. The main use space of the building is located below the swimming pool. The process of entering the building is a journey to re-understand nature and yourself. To enter the building, you must go down the corridor and “dive” under the pool.
The architects hope to build the interior in a series of dramatic spaces with overlapping light and dark, open and closed. The first scene for people to enter the building is the porch, which is located at the end of the exterior corridor, a relatively narrow transitional space. If you turn left from the porch, you enter the circular space in the center of the building. The interface of the space is simple and meditative. The architects hope that this place is mysterious and dark. It provides a guide to enter the reading area. Some small exhibitions or parties can also be held here. The dark space has a “hole” connected to the reading space, which is located in the outer ring of the building and is a bright semi-circular space. It has almost 270 degree floor glass, transparent and open, through which you can see the blue sky and sea. Another entrance and exit to the building is located in the southeast, from where people can leave the library and then bypass boulders in the site to return to the top of the hill.
Interior atmosphere: light, color and materials deriving the theme of space. The interior 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. Seats and small tables are placed along the outer glass curtain wall, where readers can read quietly and look out at the scenery. The bookshelves are arranged in a ring along the inner wall and extend outward into the ceiling and ground areas to form a cloud-like shape. The part that extends to the ground also becomes a free reading area, where some readers who don’t want to sit up can enjoy the afternoon with books here, leaning or lolling.
Two independent spaces are arranged on either side of the reading area: VIP tea room and toilets. The VIP tea room is an introspective space. The interior continues the simple style, with tea tables and seating, which can be used for solitude or for conversation. The room is specially decorated with an original stone. Sitting while looking at the stone, you can also have a close view of the beauty of the mountain and stone while reading and drinking tea. For the toilets, a dramatic effect is specially created, and the contrast colors and fiber optic device give both people physical hints.
The water bar is located between the rest rooms and the reading area, which not only divides the dynamic and static area, but also plays a transitional role. The ceiling portion of the bar area has a light opening to the rooftop pool. The architects deliberately designed a color device on the facade on the south side of the daylight opening. Thereby, the sunlight is reflected as colored light, which is scattered in the space in a vague form, which adds a little charm to the building.
Swimming pool and landscape: a dialogue between man, the sea and the blue sky. The landscape of the project strives to be pure. At the foot of the building, the vegetation on the top of the hill is mainly low-saw grass and green plants, which offset the clean shape of the building. Various rocks on the site are carefully preserved and combined with the road to become the perspective as you watch the building. At the top of the hill, the white corridor and long wall become artifacts in the natural landscape. The pure geometric shapes attract the attention of users and lead people in the direction of the rooftop pool and the sea.
The roof pool is somewhat utopian sense. The architects and owners hope to surprise users and even this small city in the south. Guests can follow the hidden path on the north side of the long wall to the small platform in the pool, and reach the daylight opening and platform located in the middle of the pool through the stepping stones on the water surface. There is no fence at the edge of the pool, which ensures the integrity and purity of the building. However, the architects used the stepping stones and the water depth around the platform to prevent people from entering the pool to ensure safety. From a specific spot on top of the hill, people can see the sea level in the distance by looking over the pool. Water, air and the sea are integrated here and now.
Conclusion: build with both physical experience and visual communication. The design of this library continues the consistent design concept of the 3andwich design team for landscape architecture. The starting point of the design starts from the website. The building is properly embedded in the site, but it has a sense of existence and becomes the connection point between people and the environment. Architecture does not deliberately pursue natural imitation. The concise geometry shows abstraction as an artifact and respect for the environment. At the same time, the building is full of drama and narrative. It does not deliberately avoid visualization and distribution. The architects hope that the building can be competent on both sides of physical experience and visual communication on the site.