Beijing studio Vector Architects designed the Seashore Library on the white sands of a beach in Nandaihe, a coastal region in eastern China. From outside, it looks like a weathered rock that is pure and solid; but inside, what it contains is the rich feelings and experiences. When walking into the space, one starts to feel the light, breezes, and sound of the ocean. What comes after the perception is the unique spiritual linkage between each individual and the sea. In here, everyone can slow down the usual pace, and unfold the feeling of distant and loneliness different from the city life.


The library houses a reading area, a meditation space, activity room, a drinking bar and a resting area. According to each space, architects have established distinctive relationship between space and the ocean; definining how light and wind enters into each room.

Toward the sea, the building is enclosed by a series of operable glass walls at ground level. When the weather is nice, the wallsare open to the sea directly connecting inside and outside. On top of these pivot walls is a horizontal view window that goes across the library; it is the main framing of sea view.


The half-arched roof opens toward the sea and implies the main subject of the space. Meanwhile, the curvature allows wide span running both north-south and east-west directions. Several 30cm diameter circular openings are inserted and array on the roofing structure. They can be open when the weather is allowed, and help to ventilate indoor air. During three seasons of the year – spring, summer and fall, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm every day, sunlight would stream through those narrow air passage ways and project light spots inside and meandering through space with time shift.


The meditation space is sitting aside from reading area. In contrast to the reading area that is bright, evenly distributed light, open and public, meditation space is rather dimmed, sharp of light and shadows, enclosed and private. There are two slim openings, 30cm wide, on east and west side of the room. One is horizontal and one in vertical; one captures the light of sunrise and the other grasps the sunset illumination. In this room, a drastic roof curved pushes the ceiling down low. Above this curve, it creates a lowterrace to the roof top. At this area, people hear the sound of ocean, though the vision is out of reach.


Activity room is a fairly isolated space. Due to potential event and sound, it is being separated from reading area with an outdoor platform in between. The light well on the roof facing east and the clear story at west collect lights throughout the day from different directions. Warm and cold light overlap and tint the space simultaneously.


If we slice through the building along the north-southlong axis, we can see how each space elaborates itself with ocean distinctively. And the movement and memory of human body together choreograph series of experience.

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all images courtesy Vector Architects