China’s newest library derives meaning from the past to inspire the future

Shanghai Library East emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and art.
The library's strong form contrasts with surrounding trees and parkland.
Shanghai Library East
Project
Shanghai, China
Location
Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Designed by

The new Shanghai Library East—one of the largest libraries in the world—is a civic landmark and cultural destination located in the Pudong district. Adjacent to Shanghai’s largest park, the library is an inspirational place for people to connect with and learn from each other.

The design inspiration for the library comes from Taihu stones, or scholars’ rocks. Taihu stones were creative muses for the ancient Chinese intelligentsia, who meditated on their amorphous shapes, textures, and porosity. Often, these meditations took place in a traditional Chinese garden.

“Libraries have long formed the backbone of many communities, becoming an integral part of our lives. It’s why we refer to them as the ‘third space’—a highly personal place that exists between our home and our work."