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Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects: Shanghai Library East

November 28, 2022

In the world’s third most populous city, Shanghai, a new civic landmark and cultural destination has opened, Shanghai Library East. The new 115,000 m² library is located in the Pudong District - the area best known for its iconic skyline. It sits immediately next to the largest park in the city, Century Park, spread over 140 hectares. Inspired by Taihu stones (ancient Chinese scholars’ rocks) Shanghai Library East emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and public art. Inviting both residents and visitors alike, more than 80% of the building’s space is dedicated to community activity.

Shanghai Library East

Shanghai Library East is one of the largest new libraries in the world, an homage to the people of Pudong as a cultural and civic landmark. Wrapped in twisted and carved glass panels designed to reflect the surrounding sky and park, the library brings classical Chinese Scholarship out through art, culture, and innovation as the first library to provide scientific and technological research functions to the public.

Shanghai Library East celebrates creativity and collaboration by integrating local artists from China and abroad, bringing cultural resonance and identity to both the interior and exterior. The main library volume floats above two pavilions that house a 1200-seat performance venue, exhibition, and events space, as well as a children’s library which opens towards a series of landscaped courtyards and gardens. The program embodies the essence of the modern library’s transition from a passive collection of books to an active meeting space facilitiating connections. With a bold and engaging architectural statement, the library demonstrates its power as a flexible space that unifies knowledge and people.

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About Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Established in 1986 by founding members Morten Schmidt, Bjarne Hammer, and John F. Lassen in Aarhus, the team has grown across three main studios in Copenhagen, Aarhus, and Shanghai. Schmidt Hammer Lassen provides skilled architectural services all over the world, with a distinguished track record as designers of international high-profile architecture with great recognition for cultural, educational, residential, and mixed-use typologies such as the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen and the recent project ‘Rocket&Tigerli’ – a 100m residential timber-construction building in Switzerland. Schmidt Hammer Lassen is committed to a Nordic architectural ethos of democratic design, aesthetics, social responsibility, and sustainability - with a significant emphasis on context to reflect the symbiotic relationship between the site and its users.