Atelier Xi Creates a Library the World has Never Seen Before
Atelier Xi, an architectural firm based in China, has one of the most unique philosophies when it comes to design. While some designers zoom in on modernizing their work, Atelier Xi focuses on preserving the beauty around the project through the project itself. They believe that the designer is not the creator but a tree planter and with each tree that they plant, they hope that it will be carefully planted in a quiet and strong space where life and stories can flourish. All the projects under their belt personify this but the recent library in the ruins might be what makes this philosophy a reality the most.
The library in the ruins is a project that Atelier Xi is working on for the municipal government of rural Xiuwu County. It was initially intended to be a large building that would hold all sorts of cultural treasures and information but because of the location of the area, which made it hard to move materials and people, Atelier Xi suggested a more efficient way to provide the government with what they were asking for. Instead of creating one large building to host all functions intended for this place, they spread out designated areas to serve a certain type of function which resulted in making the entire area more engaging to the tourists and visitors.
A very interesting fact about the Library in the Ruins is that it was supposed to have a restored look to it. It originally was built from earth-rammed walls and, like traditional tattooing, it has become a lost art. With no craftsmen available to reconstruct these historic walls, Atelier Xi decided to modernize the look differently. Their design made sure that the old and the new were completely contrasting but in a way that would complement each other. With the smooth in-situ (concreted on-site) structures they added, the earth-rammed walls were highlighted all the more. What used to be an old and broken wall became a feature in the design that could not be replicated and it was so beautiful to see.
Atelier Xi also made use of the space ingeniously. With roughly around 100 sqm to work with, they were able to provide the library with a stylish staircase that also served as bleachers for people to relax in as they read off the library that naturally runs along the staircase. They were also able to provide a roof deck on top of the library which allows guests to have a great and relaxing view of the village as well as the mountains surrounding the building.
This creation of Atelier Xi stayed true to their philosophy and it brought out one of the most unique libraries you’ll get to feast your eyes upon. It not only created a space for stories to blossom but also solidified the thought that yin and yang or contrasts can be used to enhance a design in unimaginable ways. Let this be a reminder for all the budding designers out there that there are no limitations to the designs you can create as long as you know your direction and are resourceful with what your surroundings give you.