By Ole Scheeren and Rem Koolhaas © OMA
This hybrid bookstore, publishing headquarters, and media center will accommodate 50,000 visitors a day, providing a dynamic place to read, research, and absorb information in what will be Beijing’s largest public information center. How can the doubling of the existing 50,000m2 bookstore be realized while maintaining the monumentality of the building on Beijing’s main East-West thoroughfare, Chang An Avenue, while simultaneously creating a new building with a human scale?
The new building connects with the old through a system of ramped floors that merge the old and new into a continuous series of unfolded floor plates that reorganize and channel the flow of activity and exchange. The sales areas themselves form a spiral movement of gradually sloping bookshelves and reading/gathering zones. A dynamic irregular atrium brings daylight into the building and visually connects all the floors. Old and new are stitched together to form a space for learning. Adaptive reuse is turned into useful adaptation.
The intense activity of the building is wrapped by a continuous façade that resembles a translucent bookshelf – stacked cast glass blocks that literally contain the books while transmitting the pixilated activity of the interior to the outside world. Two large openings facing Chang An Avenue and Xidan Square announce the main entrances with electronic media walls that broadcast events and activities inside – announcing that information is open to the public.