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For many, reading is a spiritual experience, and it is definitely a form of relaxation and withdrawal for everyone. The creators of the seashore library in Nandaihe, China, emphasized exactly this aspect of reading, regarding both the location and the design and services offered by the building. Set on the deserted coast of eastern China, the library is a real retreat from city life, operating in perfect harmony with the sea.

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Beijing-based Vector Architects designed a minimalist cast concrete structure that looks like a rock from the distance, but on the inside it offers a warmer ambiance. Timber is used in the interior for the floors, while the outer concrete also features wood-grain -like imprint. This adds a natural, organic quality to the otherwise brutalist main building material.

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Layout- and service-wise, the centre of the building is occupied a two-storied reading-room that is supplemented by a meditation space, an activity room, and a drinking bar. The reading room, facing the sea, features operable glass walls, that can be opened depending on the weather, establishing a direct connection between the inside and the outside. The study space is arranged an auditorium-like tiered manner, so that each reader gets equal, undisturbed view of the ever-changing drama of the water. 

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The mediation area is a more enclosed, private space, with less natural light and no sight of the sea; however, the murmuring sound of the ocean can be heard fostering relaxation. Although the inland-facing tract is more intimate overall, the whole complex is a tranquil celebration of the zen attitude.

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Photos: He Bin, Su Shengliang, Xia Zhi
Source: Archdaily

Library , China , Seashore

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