MAD Architects' otherworldly Wormhole Library nears completion
MAD Architects consistently puts out some of the most interesting architecture projects around and the firm's out-of-this-world Wormhole Library is no exception. The building is now nearing completion and some newly released construction photos offer a closer look at its unusual structure taking shape.
The result of a development push by the Chinese government, the Wormhole Library is situated on a choice spot overlooking the South China Sea, in Haikou, Hainan Province, and will be centered around a reading space with roughly 10,000 books. There'll also be a café and a terrace area overlooking the coast, as well as a public rest area with bicycle parking, public bathrooms, and showers. Elsewhere in the grounds will be an amphitheater.
The building's complex curved concrete walls bring to mind some of Zaha Hadid's works like the Heydar Aliyev Center (though perhaps it's not quite as ambitious). This is fitting as MAD boss Ma Yansong did actually work at the British starchitect's firm for a time as a young architect.
The walls are being cast using a CNC router and a 3D printer, with all electrical and plumbing connections hidden behind a cavity wall to ensure unbroken concrete surfaces inside. Curved sliding doors and retractable glass curtain walls are designed to provide natural ventilation from the prevailing sea breeze and the roof cantilevers outward to add a little shade, too.
"The intimately scaled structure is cast of white concrete as a unit," explains MAD. "The curved concrete walls not only serve as an organic architectural structure, but also connect the ceiling, ground, and walls together. Holes of varying sizes allow the architecture to breathe, while also letting natural light flood the interior. The grey spaces of the exterior corridors provide shaded spots for passers-by to stop and rest. The Wormhole Library allows visitors to read, enjoy views of the sea, and attend open-air performances, temporarily removing themselves from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As Haikou's next energetic, popular public space, the library will bring layers of color and activity to the city."
The photos, which were taken very recently, show the formwork in place and much of the concrete already cast, though it looks like some work is still left to do on the Swiss cheese-like facade and roof. MAD says that the Wormhole Library is scheduled to open in Spring (northern hemisphere) 2021.
Other buildings by the busy firm that are nearing completion include the huge nature-inspired Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center and the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts, which is probably MAD's highest profile project to date.