Rethinking OMA/Koolhaas’ Embassy of the Netherlands‘ conceptual play on solids and voids as a defining system for programmatic function, Kokaistudios integrates a traditional plan of Beijing’s historical Courtyard Houses into their winning design for the new Tsinghua University Law Library. A central void allows natural light to shine through the interior of the the 8-story building and for a trajectory to be exposed at different points due to the carving of a stone facade. Visitors proceed through a narrative of solid and void spaces and skylights ranging from circulation, indoor and outdoor areas.

Program is organized vertically, locating the most public spaces (parking lot, classrooms) in the basement and ground floor and most private (teachers’ laboratories and Research Institute) in the upper three levels, which also open up to a roof garden. The relationship between void and solids throughout this programmatic organization in turn creates permeable, extroverted, and introverted scenarios. An expressway of parking and ground floor access, the lower levels of the building include many access points from sunken gardens and landscaping connecting to three surrounding buildings. A central staircase in the atrium of the mid-leveled library pushes bookshelves towards the perimeter of the building, allowing program and thus visitors to circulate along large windows framing the urban surroundings. Unlike the Dutch Embassy, the cantilevered and continuous trajectory  is instead embedded beneath a fractured dispersion of solid program mass, creating an introversion in the upper levels which overlook a roof garden.

Leave a Reply