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Christchurch’s Recovery Plan envisions a “greener, more accessible city with a compact city centre and a strong identity.” In keeping with that vision, the Danish architecture firm designed the New Central Library as a vibrant, flexible, and welcoming hub for social activity. The new library will be the flagship for the city’s library network and will incorporate many indoor and outdoor multipurpose rooms to accommodate uses from exhibition to performance.

Related: Earthquake-Resistant Eco Village Wins Christchurch’s Breathe Competition

The library design references the social and cultural traditions of Ngai Tahu, a Maori tribe in New Zealand, with its earthy materials palette—such as exposed concrete and timber—that draw influences from the country’s landscapes. Generous glazing opens the New Central Library design up towards views of the city’s Cathedral Square and floods the library interior with natural light. Construction on the estimated $85 million project is expected to start late 2014 and the library is scheduled to open in 2017.

+ Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Images via Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects