Site conditions： advantages and challenges coexisting
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 close to the center of the park and is an independent and prominent “peninsula shaped” 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 soft in shape and not magnificent, but there are a number of boulders, which provide an important support for the shaping of the landscape.
▲建筑位于城市公园中，周边是新兴的社区 Building located in urban park and surrounded by emerging communities
▲建筑与场地的关系 Relationship between building and site
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 sight of the building to a certain extent. In addition, the height of the library must be strictly controlled to avoid blocking the sight of low-rise residents in the north side of the building to watch the sea. There is a multi-storey building in the southwest of the park, the appearance is not ideal, and it also has a negative impact on the sea view of the library.
▲长墙将人引导向建筑和大海 Long wall leading people to building and sea
▲建筑嵌入场地 Building embedded into site
Location and shape： a white library under a pool of water
The design strives to integrate the cultural attribute of the library, the environmental attribute of the site and the public attribute of contemporary society.
▲建筑位于山头，面朝大海 Building located on hill, facing the sea
▲建筑隐藏在崖边尽头 Building hidden at the end of cliff
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 a 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 blocking the view of the sea of the residence behind.
▲建筑与环境共生 Symbiosis between architecture and environment
▲建筑漂浮在崖边 Building floating on the edge of cliff
The modeling of the library strives to have poetic tension： looking down from a high place, the building is very geometric – a circle plus a straight line. 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. The whole library is white, and the edges of corridor, long wall and roof strengthen the sense of geometric composition. The section of the building 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 pool, which gives the building a kind of dramatic implication – an underwater library.
▲建筑呈现出几何构成感 Building presenting a sense of geometric composition
▲从西北方向看图书馆 Library viewed from northwest
The long wall not only shields the unfavorable factors in the southwest of the site, but also plays a guiding role. It guides people’s attention to the pool and the sea, and leads readers to approach and enter the building along this specific line. At sunset, before the sun falls into the sea, there will be a few minutes that the setting sun lengthens the shadows along the long wall and corridor. This adds a romantic color to the building.
▲长墙是空间序列中的重要组成部分 Long wall as important part of spatial sequence
▲通向屋顶水池的通道被隐藏在长墙背后 Access to roof pool hidden behind long wall
▲从下行通道进入建筑 Enter the building from downlink channel
Spatial sequence： overlapping of light and dark, opening and closing, circuitousness and straightness
The process of entering the library is not simple. Because the building is located on a hill, the architects 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 body. Therefore, it is also called “a path to the mountain of books”. When you reach the top of the mountain, you can see straight corridor and 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.
▲从暗厅回看玄关 Looking back at hallway from dark hall
▲位于中间的暗厅 Dark room in the middle
The main use space of the building is located below the pool. The process of entering the building is a journey to reunderstand nature and oneself. To enter the building, you need to go down the corridor and “dive in” under the pool.
▲位于中间的暗空间和位于外侧的亮空间 Dark space in the middle and bright space on the outside
▲阅读空间 Reading space
▲阅读空间可以看到大海 Sea viewable in reading space
The architects hope to build the interior into a series of dramatic spaces with light and dark, opening and closing overlapping. The first scene for people to enter the building is the porch, which is located at the end of the outdoor corridor, a relatively narrow transition space. Turning left from the porch, you will enter the circular space in the middle 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 for entering the reading area. Some small exhibitions or parties can also be held here. The dark space has a “hole” connected with the reading space, which is located in the outer ring of the building and is a bright semi-circular space. It has nearly 270 degrees of floor glass, transparent and open, through which you can see the blue sky and sea.
▲与自然共处的阅读 Reading in harmony with nature
Another entrance and exit of the building is located in the southeast, from where people can leave the library and then bypass boulders in the site circuitously to return to the top of the hill.
▲水吧 Water bar
▲茶室空间 Tea house
▲气窗上的彩色玻璃装置 Stained glass installation on louver
Indoor atmosphere： light, color and materials deducing the theme of space
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. 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 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, leaning or lolling.
▲场地中的石头被保留，成为重要景观元素 Stones in the site preserved as important landscape elements
▲越过屋顶水池可以看到海平面 Sea level viewable over roof pool
Two independent spaces are arranged on both sides of the reading area： VIP tea room and rest rooms. The VIP tea room is an introspective space. The interior continues the simple style, with tea tables and seats, which can be used for solitude or for talks. The room is specially decorated with an original stone. Sitting while facing the stone, you can also have a close view of the beauty of mountain and stone while reading and drinking tea. For the rest rooms, a dramatic effect is specially created, and the contrast colors and optical fiber device both give people physical hints.
▲长墙、气窗和圆形屋顶形成抽象的构成 Long wall, louver and round roof forming an abstract composition
▲水下汀步供人行走 Underwater stepping stones for walking
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 part of the bar area has a light opening to the pool on the roof. The architects deliberately designed a color device on the facade on the south side of the daylighting opening. Through it, the sunlight is rendered as colored light, which is scattered into the space in a blurred form, adding a bit of charm to the building.
▲屋顶水池提供了另一种体验方式 Roof pool providing another experience
▲屋顶水池允许人进入 Accessible roof pool
Pool and landscape： a dialogue between man, the sea and the blue sky
The landscape of the project strives to be pure. As the base of the building, the vegetation on the top of the hill is mainly low awn grass and green plants, which set off the clean shape of the building. Several boulders in the site are carefully preserved and combined with the path to become the prospect while watching the building.
▲图书馆服务周边新社区 Library serving surrounding new communities
▲建筑照明以内透为主 Mainly internally transparent building lighting
At the top of the hill, the white corridor and long wall become artifacts in the natural landscape. The pure geometric shapes well attract the attention of users and lead people to the direction of the roof pool and the sea.
▲照明保持场地的宁静 Lighting keeping the site quiet
▲长墙和水池 Long wall and roof pool
▲长墙、水池和气窗 Long wall, roof pool and louver
The roof pool is somewhat with a 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 daylighting opening and platform located in the middle of the pool through the stepping stones on 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 restrict people from entering the pool to ensure safety. From a specific location on the top of the hill, people can see the sea level in the distance by glancing over the pool. Water, sky and the sea are integrated here and now.
▲夕阳中的图书馆 Library in sunset
Conclusion： building with both physical experience and visual communication
The design of this library continues the consistent design concept of 3andwich Design team for landscape architecture. The starting point of the design starts from the site. 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 the 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 dissemination. The architects hope that the building can be competent at both ends of on-site physical experience and visual communication.
▲建造过程 Construction process
▲南立面图 south facade
▲墙身大样剖面 Wall detail
▲总平面图 Site plan
Project name：Water Drop Library
Location：Shuangyue Bay, Huizhou City, Guangdong Province, China
Owner：Huizhou Shuangyue Bay Real Estate Investment and Development Co., Ltd.
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(intern)
Structure engineer：Pan Congjian
Landscape design：TOPOS Landscape Architects
Lighting design：Guangzhu International Lighting Design Co. Ltd (Beijing)
Owner design management team：Luo Shaochuan、Liu Shaowen、Yu Yanfei、Li Guohao
Owner Engineering Management team：Liu Zhifei、Lin Yonghua
Design time：Aug. 2020 – April 2021
Completion time：April 2022
Photography：Jin Weiqi, He Wei, Huizhou Shuangyue Bay Real Estate Investment and Development Co., Ltd.