Jinyu Community Library

Jinyu Community Library

The Jinyu Library is small community library located in Changsha (Hunan’s capital) that occupies the ground floor of a residential tower overlooking the west bank of the Xiang River. The library consists of a main reading space, a bar/café, event space, meeting room and lounges. Its proximity to Hunan University and the region’s famous Yuelu Academy informed the project’s cultural nod to Changsha’s prestigious scholarly heritage.

Drawing inspiration from the nearby Yuelu Academy, revered for its focus on moral cultivation and the local culture of contemplative learning immersed in nature and artifice, the architectural concept behind Neri&Hu’s modern interpretation of the library deploys the unique visual framework represented in traditional Chinese handscroll paintings.

Its location at the base of a condominium tower departs from conventional typologies, where luxurious lobbies and amenities would have been the norm, by creating a social gathering space for all residents in the community to enjoy as part of their daily lives. Part new construction and part interior fit-out, the inherited architectural plan of the tower consisted of structural walls scattered throughout the cruciform plan.

In an effort to link the disjointed spaces and tie the architectural insertion back to the functional program of a library, a series of meandering millwork walls form the spatial device that seamlessly leads visitors from exterior to interior. As these walls transition between landscape walls, interior bookshelves, coffered ceilings, and built-in furniture, the visitor’s gaze shifts from being directed, framed, screened and obscured. Just as in the microcosms captured in Chinese paintings which resists the visual iconicity of a singular perspectival view, the Jinyu library is also experienced as a narrative revealed in fragments, unraveled in sections and curated vignettes.

Gross Area
600 m², Landscape 1,166 m²


Completion Date
October 2013

April 2013 – October 2013

Vanke Jinyutixiang, Xiaoxiangzhong Road, Yuelu District, Changsha, Hunan

AR Library Awards 2018, by Architecture Review, UKJinyu Community Library, Shortlist
Asia Pacific Interior Design Awards 2015, by Hong Kong Interior Design Association, Hong Kong, ChinaJinyu Community Library, Public Space Category, Silver Award
A&D Trophy Awards 2014, by Perspective Limited, Hong Kong, ChinaJinyu Community Library, Institutional/Public Space Category, Best of Category