A new library designed by Atelier Xi emerges from a vast ice-chrysanthemum field at the foot of Yuntai Mountain in China's Henan province. The library is designed as a collection of geometric volumes that resemble faceted fragments of rock. The best part? A space that allows visitors to read and relax while glimpsing a field of yellow mums.
Atelier Xi Builds a Library Surrounded by Yellow Chrysanthemums in China
Architecture studio Atelier Xi was tasked with creating a multifunctional community space and has scattered a series of small individual buildings, each with a distinct function. The library emerges as a humble presence among the chrysanthemum field, as the architects at Atelier Xi scatter the five buildings to integrate trees and blend into the landscape.
These interconnected but independently functioning units host a variety of programs, such as ice-chrysanthemum tea tasting, book reading, musical performances, agricultural education workshops, and farming tool storage. The resulting architecture resembles a miniature village, instilling a sense of community while maintaining a delicate balance with the natural environment.
Drawing inspiration from the silhouette of local village houses, Atelier Xi designed each unit of its chrysanthemum library with a sloping roof reminiscent of the region's traditional architecture. The ascending ceilings, which face various directions, not only capture enchanting views of the flower field but also create a dynamic and visually appealing landscape.
The architectural composition serves as a backdrop for the vibrant chrysanthemum blooms, complementing the surroundings and providing a unique visual experience. Meanwhile, the five units face different directions, a deliberate arrangement that captures the changing interplay of light throughout the day.
A Fusion of Architecture and Flowers for the Win
The building's exterior, finished in white stucco paint, features a minimalist and sculptural volume that contrasts with the colorful flower fields. A series of interconnected, curved wooden spaces define the interior, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. These softly curving walls, wrapped in locally sourced wood, reflect the organic qualities of the chrysanthemums, bridging the gap between nature and built space.
The contrast between the buildings' curved interiors and their angular, white exteriors creates a distinct quality that changes from day to night. In daylight, the white gable walls resemble a northern village settlement. As night falls, the silhouette fades into darkness, emphasizing the soft interior space and creating a dreamlike atmosphere that encourages exploration and introspection.
On the other hand, the growth cycles of nearby crops result in a shifting time scale with alternating seasons. The five units facing different directions capture the changing presentation of natural light throughout the day, transforming the architectural space into a scale that traces the nuances of time across the vast wilderness.
More About the Architects
At Atelier Xi, the architects behind the wonderful works believe that each space, grand or tiny, is a clue to the vastness of the world we live in and a testimony to the glory of everyday life. By planting and creating these quiet and resilient spaces from beginning to end, one at a time, the team behind the studio envisions architecture to branch out and blossom with life and narratives.
To see more of their innovative architectural projects visit Atelier Xi's website.
Photos by Zhang Chao.