Quiet please

Thursday December 22, 2011 Written by nadia

A small library and reading room on the outskirts of Beijing provides a serene contrast to the busy city.

Situated just outside Jiaojiehe village in Huairou beneath the mountains, the LiYuan Library is perfectly set for quiet contemplation.

Architects Li Xiaodong Atelier chose to work with the natural environment rather than compete with it. They used locally sourced sticks to construct the exterior walls; the same sticks are readily used by villagers to fuel cooking fires and can be found piled up outside most houses.

Inside, a multi-levelled wood space offers peaceful nooks in which to read. The building is fully glazed and protected from the elements, but the stick casing offers an extra layer of insulation in winter and temper the space from bright light in summer.

The library is purposefully situated five minutes walk from the town centre, in the hope that its readers will consciously decide to seek it out, to clear their minds and then fill them with new things.