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Hakka without question is one of the largest cultural groups within China whose well preserved traditions and culture are alive and well. Originating from central and northern parts of China, the Hakka ancestors migrated to southern China where they have been settled for centuries. Their tradition of migration remains and there are now more than 40 million Hakka people who reside overseas.The mayor of He-Yuan, one of the most important permanent Hakka cities, spearheaded an effort to designate a central park within the city. One of the strategic projects would be the main civic library located within the park. The library in the mayor’s mind should be the very incarnation of Hakka culture. The library is designed to be locating at the center of the park, overlooking the entire artificial lake from a small mountain. This location is ideal from a ‘Feng-Sui’ point of view: the major façade will be facing a large open waterscape with small mountains ‘backing’ the building.
With the intention of seeking inspiration for the architectural design, we conducted research of Hakka Architectural tradition. We found that Hakka architecture is rooted in an introverted perspective. The classic Hakka house was considered a defense system against possible intruders. Three typologies are usually seen which are ‘Yuan-Lou’, ‘Wei-Long-Wu’, and ‘Wu-Feng-Lou’ amongst which ‘Wu-Feng-Lou’ has been considered the earliest type developed by the Hakka ancestors. In Chinese ‘Wu’means ‘five’ while ‘Feng’ and ‘Lou’ mean ‘phoenix’ and ‘building complex’ respectively.In describing the typology of ‘Wu-Feng-Lou’ it is a large family house consists of 5 interconnected houses representing the 5 elements in ancient Chinese culture (gold, wood, water, fire and earth). In tradition, the 5 houses are designed in a way which they look like ascending from the ground floor that from the ancients’ viewpoint they resemble 5 flying phoenixes.
▼远眺建筑，view from distance
As the origin of Hakka architecture, rich in symbolism, and a building typology that goes well with the plan of a library, the Wu-Feng-Lou became our most important source of inspiration. Echoing the traditional form, the library was designed as five functional entities which develop a strong connection with the sloping landform and the waterscape.
▼建筑概念推演，evolution of concept
For the elevation design of the Heyuan Library, we have extracted key elements from the traditional Hakka architecture; elements such as small window openings, oversized wall openings, and thick solid walls are all translated using contemporary methods in order to preserve the traditional aspects of the architecture while at the same time adding a splash of creativity. For example, the design of the thick solid wall not only can express traditional Hakka architecture truthfully, but it can also shield the building from summer heat and winter cold. Under its contemporary outer skin, the design of the Heyuan Library is able to transform itself into a culturally rich innate building that is able to inherit the soul of Hakka culture. This is accomplished by incorporating white as its main color scheme, the addition of concrete deco boards that are naturally textured, and the abstract use of small window openings on the thick solid walls as its elevation design language.
▼立面的设计从客家传统土楼的建筑造型中提炼关键元素，extracted key elements from the traditional Hakka architecture for the elevation design
▼大面积的厚实墙和小窗洞作为建筑立面的语汇，the abstract use of small window openings on the thick solid walls as its elevation design language
▼通过现代手法的诠释在保留客家特色基础上加入创意，using contemporary methods in order to preserve the traditional aspects of the architecture while at the same time adding a splash of creativity
▼庭院俯视图，top view of the courtyard
内庭院窗户的设置，与外立面的厚实墙体有所不同，我们选用河源客家人挚爱的竹作为主要材料，外饰竹格栅，内层用透明玻璃窗。既能保证图书馆内部光线充足又有一定遮荫效果。 “宁可食无肉 ,不可居无竹”。短短十个字充分表达了客家人对竹的偏爱，内院的青竹与竹窗相呼应，完美契合整个图书馆语境。
In contrast to the solid, fortress like external elevations, the internal elevations which face the inner courtyard are open and allow for the inflow of natural light. We chose a mixture of clear glass and shade panels for the windows. There is an old Hakka saying, which translates to “better to eat without meat than to live without bamboo”. This saying expresses the Hakka people’s preference for bamboo. This inspired us to choose treated bamboo for the shade panels. We are very pleased with the overall effect of the bamboo shades – they are an authentic, traditional material but they have been used to create a modern aesthetic.
▼内庭院窗户选用河源客家人挚爱的竹作为主要材料，choose treated bamboo for the shade panels
▼外饰竹格栅，内层用透明玻璃窗，chose a mixture of clear glass and shade panels for the windows
The overall surrounding of the library is truly exceptional; the general form of the architecture is stacked together from south to north to create a platform landscape. While the design of the entrance plaza is visually pleasing and provides the visitors a generous amount of relaxation space close by the water, the creation of a central garden not only satisfies the local fire prevention regulation, but also enhances the architecture’s ability to naturally ventilate and light itself, allowing the library to become a more comfortable environment. Also, the addition of the roof garden creates a natural barrier against summer heat, and this large green space allows the library to become even more sustainable than it already is.
▼外部整体上由南往北形成层层抬升的台地式景观，the general form of the architecture is stacked together from south to north to create a platform landscape
The Heyuan Library is not only a key feature of the Heyuan Cultural Park but also a place to immerse yourself in culture, literature, knowledge and nature.
设计团队： Paul Bo Peng 彭勃 先生（澳籍）、 余定、胡彦、魏世兵、杜明芳、陈秀瑶、叶嘉威、陈永伦、李清、姚世杰、雷燕仪 、THOMAS ODORICO 托马斯·奥多里科（意大利）JOAN SAGUE CASSANY 琼·塞格·卡萨尼（西班牙）
Project Name: Heyuan new Library
Project Address: Heyuan City, Guangdong Province, China
Client：Heyuan City Council
Leading architect: Paul Bo Peng
Design team: Stoney Yu, Yen Hu, Shibin Wei, Do, Yoyo, Gray Ye, Allen Chen, Qing Li, Shijie Yao, Yanyi Lei, Thomas Odorico, Joan Sague Cassany
Building area: 20606 m2
Video editor: Michael Liu
Photography: PHOTO© ZENG Zhe
Chinese & English text: IAPA