The Chongqing Library is a stunning 540,000 sf urban complex, evolved from a central idea of expressing the freedom and importance of knowledge was designed by architects Perkins Eastman. The 50,000 sm (540,000 sf) Chongqing Library will be an important educational, cultural, and social center where people will meet to study, access knowledge, and exchange ideas. The Library building’s design is modern and evocative of the traditional form of the courtyard. Three main programmatic elements: the open public access zone, secure public zone, and the private secure zone-are built around a center courtyard garden that acts as an experiential space or a scenic opportunity from the adjacent reading rooms and café. The design uses glass and stone to articulate public and private areas of the library. Conceived as a cultural and civic icon, the library goes beyond the notion that a library is simply a repository for books-incorporating a concert hall, gallery space, conference facilities, restaurant, and a hotel for visiting scholars.
For the largest city in China, comprising 30 million inhabitants and more than 3,000 years of history, a new library had to be much more than just a collection of books. Chongqing, often called “mountain city” for its majestic natural features and geography, realized this early on in its plan to develop a world-class library. The public areas facing Feng Tian Avenue are sheathed in glass to connote transparency and visibility for users and pedestrians. It also provides a visual transition from the public plaza to the public areas of the library. The book stacks and service areas to the west are clad in stone to represent security and the solidity of the library’s collection. The stone pattern also reflects the design of older buildings in Chongqing, linking the library to the city’s architectural heritage as it looks to the future.