Sticking up for sustainability

Updated: 2013-07-25 01:00

By Sun Yuanqing (China Daily)

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Sticking up for sustainability

Sticking up for sustainability

Liyuan Library in Huairou district of Beijing [Photo by Cui Meng/China Daily]

Liyuan Library integrates architecture into the natural landscape using traditional Chinese architectural concepts.

Rows of firewood are the first impression of Liyuan Library, which sits beside a pond surrounded by mountains in the Huairou district of Beijing. On a day when the tranquility is broken only by birdsong, it is "a setting for clear thoughts" as the building's designer describes it.

Designed by Chinese architect Li Xiao-dong, the library was one of the winning designs in the 2013 Architecture of Necessity competition held in Sweden in June, making it the first Chinese project to claim the honor.

"It is a contemporary project, but it is full of Chinese traditional wisdom," says Li, who is also a professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. "I wanted to explore how to integrate architecture into the natural landscape using traditional Chinese architectural knowledge."

The intention was to make a modest complement to the beauty of the natural surroundings. "You can never compete with nature's splendor," Li says.

Li also wanted it to resonate with the local villagers. "With Liyuan, I also tried to test new ground by using local materials to address the issues of the local community, which is another important aspect of sustainability."

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