Remodeling of Wu Chung Library in CUHK

Wu Chung Library is one of the first generation of buildings in United College designed by Szeto Wai and completed in 1969. The Library steps into her 50 years of age this year 2019, it is undergoing significant changes.

The specific design concepts for this project include:
Visual connection – The west facade of the ground floor main entrance and the south-west corner are redesigned using frameless transparent window walls; for people to enjoy the natural outdoors with the dewy lawn and trees. The same concept applied to the east façade lower ground floor to bring in the spectacular waterfall.

Free movement – The past obstacles on the ground floor plan are removed to make the core of vertical circulation possible in maximising air freshness and student conveniences in using the new cluster design reading spaces and e-learning facilities.

Cluster of reading spaces – On the upper floors the bookshelves are rearranged as clusters such that various interconnecting ‘reading rooms’ defined by the bookshelves are formulated. This is intended to depict a quiet atmosphere for oneself of being surrounded by knowledge.

The design has taken into consideration of with spatial characters on each floor and has come up with the following solutions that meet the users’ requirements:
LG/F: The redesigned library has 24/7 open access study room. Located on the lower ground floor that separates from its main library functions. Designers seek for varies options in the seating arrangements such as sofas and casual seats around coffee tables facing the waterfall landscape; long open tables equipped with computers for e-learning; study rooms that allow group discussion among students; and lastly, height adjustable standing desk for special needs.

G/F: The west façade and the south-west- corner are redesigned with frameless window wall to merge the indoor and outdoor. This is to create open airy learning atmosphere.

1/F and 2/F: The bookshelves on the upper floors are rearranged in a cluster layout to form various interconnecting ‘reading rooms’. The layout intended to depict a quiet atmosphere for oneself of being surrounded by knowledge.

When comes to ergonomics, furniture plays a crucial part in both physical and visual comforts. Padded cushion upholstered with synthetic leather and low back chairs provided the sitting comforts, to students who especially study long hours. Also, a combination of hard and soft materials is being used to balance the acoustic consideration.

Emotional & wellbeing
We reinstated or retained the original high-level ribbon windows and opened up window walls to the spectacular waterfall and dewy lawn.

The new renovation attempts to bring in a contemporary touch to the interior. The difference in materials and room colours differentiates each area. Materials used on the existing building envelope include the off-form concrete, rough texture paint, wash-grano, and grasses. The proposed interior materials include terrazzo, fine texture paint, wood veneer, and fabrics.

Technology / creative ideas / environmental
CO2 detectors are installed at waist level to measure the indoor air quality and indoor human occupancy counting. Its motion sensor monitors the air freshness and controls the ventilation need based on the number of visitors. This installation aims to improve environmental quality as well as cost-effectively.

With the budget and environmental concern, we have recycled and upcycled approximately 50% of bookshelves and old reading tables. By putting newly made plywood tabletop with ash wood plastic veneer pre-installed with electric plugs, USB hubs, and LAN ports for modern-day necessity.

Ease of construction
With only 3 months’ completion time, we were working against time the entire period, particularly on the use of material decision making; this plays a critical part in completion time.

Students have given positive feedback on how this new library renovation is. The redesigned library is far more comfortable, and how delighted to have this new place.

Project Name: Remodeling of Wu Chung Library in CUHK
Location: The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Completion Date: 27 August 2018
Site Area: Approximately 910 square metres
Gross Floor Area: Approximately 2,400 square metres
Building Height: 4 storeys (Approximately 20.27 metres)
Client/Owner/Developer: The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)
Project Manager: Campus Development Office, CUHK
Architects: Campus Development Office, CUHK; Meta4 Design Forum Ltd
Interior Design Firm: Meta4 Design Forum Ltd
Principal Designers: Kenneth Tse; Steven Chu; Thomas Yuen; Holman Cheong
Design Adviser: Prof. Zhu Jingxiang (School of Architecture, CUHK); S.M. Fung (Director of Campus Development, CUHK); Louise Jones (University Librarian, CUHK)
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Campus Development Office, CUHK
Quantity Surveyor: Campus Development Office, CUHK
Interior Fit-Out Contractor: Hoi Dao Engineering Co, Ltd
Images: Campus Development Office, CUHK; Meta4 Design Forum ltd

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