Shanghai Library East - rendering
Shanghai Library East - exterior

Shanghai Library East

Designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen
China's Largest New Library

As one of the most populous cities in the world, Shanghai needed a future proof innovative library for its growing population. Won by Schmidt Hammer Lassen, as part of an international competition, the new 115,000 square meter library will be located in the Pudong District—the area of the city known for its iconic skyline, and will sit on the edge of Century Park—the largest park in the city spread over 140 hectares.

Tasked with protecting the precious parkland surroundings, the project is conceived as a singular monolithic object floating above the tree canopy within the park. The main library volume floats above two pavilions that house a 1200 seat performance venue, exhibition and events space and a dedicated children’s library, that will all open up towards a series of landscape courtyards and gardens.

Shanghai Library East - Site location
China’s largest new library set in Century Park, Shanghai’s largest park spread over 140 hectares.
Shanghai Library East - sketch
Shanghai Library East
Collection to Connection
Shanghai already has a Central Library—completed over 20 years ago, and located in the former French Concession. At over 900,000 square feet it is one of the largest libraries in the world. It holds a physical collection of over 50 million items – placing it in the top 5 libraries in the world in terms of its collection, yet with only 20% of space open to the public. Acting as sister libraries this allows Shanghai Library East to focus on space for people to meet and connect, a true modern library.
“The biggest difference between the traditional library and the modern library is the position of people.”

Dr. Wu Jianzhong, Former Head of Shanghai Library

Shanghai Library East - Exterior South
Shanghai Library East - Exterior West
“Shanghai Library East is a “readable building” evoking a carefully carved piece of stone that lies shining in the city’s forest. The carved volume reflects the sky and the surrounding park landscape becoming a natural “cultural oasis.”

Mr Chen Chao, Current Head of Shanghai Library

Shanghai Library East - Exterior East Terrace
Shanghai Library East - Construction Progress
A new world class central library for one of the world’s most populated cities.
Shanghai Library East - Ground Floor - Atrium
Taihu Stone

Traditional Chinese Gardens are a landscape style evolved over three thousand years. Traditionally created by emperors and later by scholars as a place for reflection and thought. A key point of focus in a traditional Chinese garden is a fake mountain or rock often referred to as a Taihu Stone—a porous limestone formed of holes that frame views and encourage investigation and contemplation. Shanghai Library East is conceived as a point of focus in an urban scale Chinese garden, with an atrium space of holes and connections.

Shanghai Library East - Ground Floor - Atrium2
Shanghai Library East - Third Floor - Reading

Project Team

Chris Hardie