SAKO Architects

SAKO Architects

Beijing, CN | Tokyo, JP | Fukuoka, JP


SQUARES in Tianshui

This is a complex facility built in a small rural town, combining a library and a day service for the elderly.

The site faces a residential area and is surrounded by a mixed environment, so the number of windows on the perimeter has been minimized. This approach has also proven effective in enhancing insulation performance and ensuring quietness according to the intended use. On the other hand, the library room on the second floor uses frameless vacuum triple glazing and is fully open to the courtyard in the center of the building.

The square of sky carved out changes moment by moment. Light changes, clouds flow, and rain falls. Various changes caused by the Earth's rotation dance in the courtyard, forming a timeline within the quiet reading room.

The change in light is further amplified by the mirror effect created by the deep eaves and the black corridor space, making the carved out sky appear divided into nine at times.

The elements of the floor plan and elevations are all composed of squares.

The corridors surrounding the square courtyard and the reading rooms surrounding them are also square, forming a neatly nested plan like a mandala.

All bookshelves are square, with four or nine modules directly connected to the windows around them. While it seems from each reading room that the windows are normally placed, from the outside, the façade appears to have windows of various sizes randomly arranged.

This building is also ambitiously working towards achieving 'zero carbon'. With high insulation, solar and wind power generation, and geothermal utilization, it has received the first 'carbon zero at the design stage' certification for a library in China, and a one-year demonstration period has already begun.

Roof tiles from demolished buildings have been reused in the front yard, carrying on the memory of the land.








本棚もすべて正方形で、周囲の窓に 4 つまたは 9 つのモジュールが直接接続されています。各閲覧室からは普通に窓が配置されているように見えますが、外から見るとファサードには大小の窓がランダムに配置されているように見えます。



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Status: Built
Location: Tianshui, CN
Additional Credits: Principal Architect: Keiichiro Sako

Architectural Design :   SAKO Architects 
Interior Design: SAKO Architects 
Specification: •Solar Power Generation
•Wind Power Generation
•Geothermal Heat Pumps
•Graphite Modified Expanded Polystyrene Foam Board 180mm thick
• Passive Windows and Doors (Manufacturer: WinGreen)
•Frameless Vacuum Triple Glass (Super Transparent Low-e Glass)
Client:   SOHO China
Photo credits:   YuMing Song, Luo Juncai

Instagram: @keiichiro_sako
Contact e-mail: [email protected]

SQUARES in Tianshui