The University Library of the Chinese University of Hong Kong built a new extension to its original 1970’s library and its 1980’s annex. The original design of the three buildings appeared completely independent and have little relationships with each other. PA’s approach is to integrate the three buildings together to create a cohesive whole that would make a comprehensive experience for the library users. Boundary walls are taken down between the buildings to create a free plan that provides open and bright spaces for the users.
A void has been carved out from the second floor to create a vertical connection at the heart of the three library buildings. This brings natural light from an existing skylight into what once was a deep dark space, and has greatly enhanced the spatial quality of the center of the library. Located in this void is a grand staircase that provides a study forum for students under the comfort of open space and daylight.
The plan is open and free allowing different types of activities to blend into one another. As shown in the entrance, the interior is bright and flexible to allow views deep into the heart of the library creating an interactive space that enhances student activities. Existing Reference Room has been reorganized where students are embraced by books to create a traditional Reading Room that connects between the Reading Room and the central Grand Staircase is the Research Commons.