The Liyuan library designed by Li Xiaodong Atelier is a modest addition to the small village of Huairou on the outskirts of Beijing, just under a two hours drive from busy Beijing urban life.
On the one hand it forms a modern programmatic complement to the village by adding a small library and reading space within a setting of quiet contemplation. It also uses architecture to enhance the appreciation of the surrounding natural landscape.
Rather than adding a new building inside the village center, this particular site was chosen in the nearby mountains, which is a pleasant five minute walk from the village center.
Because of the overwhelming beauty of the surrounding nature, the buildings intervention is modest in its outward expression. The building blends into the landscape through the delicate choice of materials and the careful placement of the building volume. Especially the choice of material is crucial in blending with the regional characteristics. After analyzing the local material characteristics in the village, large amounts of locally sourced wooden sticks were found piled around each house. The villagers gather these sticks all year round to fuel their cooking stoves. So this ordinary material was selected to be used in an extraordinary way, cladding the building in a familiar texture, but in a way that is strikingly sensitive.
The inside of the building has a very expressive character; its interior is spatially diverse by using steps and small level changes to create distinct places. It frames views towards the surrounding landscape and acts as an embracing shelter. The building is fully glazed to allow for daylight into the interior space. The wooden sticks temper the bright light and spread it evenly throughout the space to provide for a perfect reading ambiance.