• Behind The Scenes - Breathing New Life Into Suzhou No.2 Library

    2022.04.12 BES NEWS

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    Have you ever been childishly excited about going to the library? My guess is - probably not. Often the library makes us think about school, studying or hard work, but I hope your perspective on this is about to change. 

     

    We (BES Branding) had the opportunity to visit the well known Suzhou No.2 Library, designed by GMP Architects, a few weeks ago. The Library at first glance is pretty impressive, two massive parts fitting into each other to form a tapered cube dressed in thin white layers.

     

    The library consists of two parts, the public reading space and the book depository with an automated intelligent storage system (very impressive). As cool as the architecture and the design is, the library faces some difficulties in performing like a real public building - drawing enough people and blending into its physical and cultural surroundings (in my opinion anyway). 


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    We, BES library team, made 4 trips to the library and spent about 14 hours there getting the know the space, observing how the library functions and investigating the underlying problems. To be honest, this was a bit of a rollercoaster experience. First we got so excited as we were discovering all the design and social potential this project has to offer, our creative minds (and hearts) were filled to the brim as we brainstormed ideas and dreamed about the future of Suzhou No.2 library - turning No.2 into No.1 ! Like with any project though, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses, we also had to spend hours looking for and unpacking design and operational problems (which later on led to some tears, but I won’t mention any names here… ;)


    Meet the BES Library Research Team: 

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    As a mother I got very excited to learn about the library’s children’s literature section, and the fact that I could actually take my little one to the library to study and document her behaviour in the space. Isn’t this the dream of every working mother? To combine the things she loves most (design and motherly love in my case). Our one trip, labeled “Babies in Library”, was a unique and very rewarding experience. We observed and studied the behaviour of two children (1 and 2 years of age) in the library to help us identify problems, design challenges and things that actually works really well. Check out these cute pics below: 


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    Gabi and Cara reading on the massive couch.


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    Wang Hai Yang teaching Cara about Elephants (Da Xiang).


    The two library curators shared our excitement for this project, as they are eager to unlock the library’s potential and change their library into the buzzing cultural hub of Xiangcheng Area. 


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    Suzhou No.2 Library is located across from Shu Xiang Park in Huqui, Xiangcheng (the Northern side of Suzhou). The immediate context of the library is a relatively newly built park called Ren Cai Gongyuan (Talent Park), just across the road from Shu Xiang Park. The library can conveniently be reached by subway, bus or public bicycle.


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    We hope to transform Suzhou No.2 Library into the series of vibrant external and internal public platforms with a unique character - drawing local and international attention. Architecture should be for people, let’s design it that way. 


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