New public facility mediates tradition and the contemporary
The design for this civic leisure & library complex signifies the idea of a civic building with a piazza as a place for gathering. The building accommodates two main functions, which are a public library and an indoor recreation centre (IRC). The 10-storey library block, which is mainly outwardly orientated with glass façade to maximise its view and to benefit from the intake of natural daylight, locates at the south side of the site.
The 8-storey public library includes children’s library, adult library, multi-media library, reference library, students’ study room, computer centre, activity room and newspaper & periodicals reading area with an outside extension to the courtyard.
The 5-storey indoor recreation centre, which is more inward looking, comprises one 25x25m indoor swimming pool, one main games arena with 2 basketball courts, four multi-function rooms and a childrens' play room. The architectural language takes its DNA from the nearby Chinese vernacular tradition of Ping Shan Heritage Trail.
The concept is inspired by the Chinese traditional cabinet, a kind of multipurpose storage space for books, as well as open shelves to display porcelain and bonsai. By incorporating terraces that mediate the outdoor and indoor environments, the design re-interprets these traditional elements in a contemporary way.
With the use of brick walls, timber and metal screens; it establishes a connection with its roots yet modern at the same time. The spatial concept of the Library is to carve out the building mass to create inter-connected atrium, courtyard and roof terrace at various levels to allow natural light to reach the lower floors of the 10-storeys building. Readers can step out of the indoor space into these outdoor rooms to enjoy their reading with cups of tea.