Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects won an international competition to design the 25,000m² Student Center & Library for the Wenzhou-Kean University in Wenzhou, China. The new building consists of four stacked box-like volumes wrapped in semi-transparent glass covered in an abstract fritted pattern that takes inspiration from the local mountains and traditional bamboo construction.
The Student Center & Library will connect the educational facilities on the south side of the campus and the student residence on the north. Dominating the ground floor is the student activity center which acts as a central marketplace with a cafe, theater, dance and music studios, exhibition space, and areas for informal meeting and gathering. Stairs and bridges connect the ground floor with the upper levels of the atrium. A large ‘book stack’ leads up to the library, which will house 30,000 books, a 300 seat lecture hall, and various space for study and research.
The building’s facade was inspired by Wenzhou’s mountainous terrain, and vernacular bamboo construction common in the city’s historical architecture. In line with the Wenzhou-Kean University’s philosophy of integrating different influences (the university is cooperatively run by Wenzhou University and Kean University in New Jersey), the new addition aims to Chinese and American teaching methodologies in practice from a global context.