This large archives library whose shape is outlined by brick volumes was built on the slopes of a hill located in a large expansion area in Shenzhen.
Could you tell me about China Resources Archive Library?
The Archive Library is a very unique project. The client needed a protected storage space that would hold five decades of their records of every type—drawings, papers, physical objects, and digital records as well. The archive program was large. In addition, the client also wanted to create public exhibition and lecture spaces that would be open to the community.
The project is located on a university campus outside Shenzhen, and the campus is on top of a very large hill. We mitigated the effects of the large archive program by burying the storage vaults into the hillside—it’s practically invisible as it nestles into the topography quite well.
The public programs are on top of the archives and are at the same level as the campus. The project faces two very different conditions. Towards the campus, we created a subdued presence that extends the academic space of the University. The other side faces the city and the ocean and is very visible from the community below. We created a series of public pathways that allow visitors to access the campus from the bottom of the hill. We took the geometry of these ramps and extended them into the façade to create these angled cuts that give the building a dynamic presence of the east façade. The main exhibition space is behind one of those cuts. It has a dynamic angled ceiling and a view of the mountains beyond.
Another thing that is interesting about the project is the interior spatial sequence. Visitors start from the campus entrance. The lobby is very well composed and it adds a lightness that contrasts the heavy brick façade. The spatial sequence takes you through a skylight hall, and then to the main exhibition space, which enjoys views of the city and landscape beyond.
The idea was to create a linear sequence of spaces that culminates with a view of the city and the ocean. We could have created a big glass lobby but to us that’s the easy way out.