Located in Liangjiashan, an ancient village in Wuyi County in the Chinese province of Zhejiang, and embraced by dense, mountainous forests, Mountain House in Mist is a public library that occupies a triangular site near the main village square next to conserved, rammed-earth Chinese courtyard houses.
The 1,679-square-foot building was commissioned by the Hongfu Tourism Group Co., Ltd. and designed by Hangzhou–based studio Shulin Architectural Design. An oasis of calm and learning for the residents of the village, the library has a main structure of steel and wood, and was built with pine, terrazzo, and clear "sun panels" that allow light to pass through.
On the southern perimeter of the site is a pedestrian walkway, and to the north is a 9.8-foot stone wall with a playground for children above it.
Much like the rural homes in parts of Southeast Asia that were built to stay dry during floods, 10 columns support the main interior space on a raised level.
These columns create a sheltered, open-air patio with a little pond on the ground level under the floor of the library.
Because the library is set on columns, it is at the same level as the playground, which allows patrons to read while keeping an eye on children who are playing through the building’s picture windows.
From an outdoor staircase that begins at the ground level, villagers can access the interior of the library, where there are reading areas, bookshelves, and a 3.3-foot wide corridor that they can meander along while browsing at the titles on the shelves.
The library’s facade is wrapped in a special, ribbed panels that are manufactured in the village. These translucent panels allow those inside to glimpse muted views of the landscape outdoors.
The panels also soften the quality of the sunlight entering the interiors, resulting in a relaxing reading environment.
The ground-level patio and pond brings sunlight, rain, and air into the design, so the building integrates better with its site and context.
"The essence of rural architecture as I understand it is a state in which people and space, people and nature, and people and time coexist harmoniously," says the project’s lead architect Liu Dongying.
"Our inspiration comes not only from intuition, but is also rooted in the countryside itself, so that the locality and creativity can connect well," he adds.
Architect of Record: Shulin Architectural Design
Photography: Zhao Yilong
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