October 27, 2015
by Canadian Architect
The Liyuan Library is clad with locally gathered sticks, a material that resonates with village culture and with the building’s stunning natural surroundings.
The Chinese architect who won Canada’s biggest architecture prize for a library that has transformed a village will give a public lecture in Toronto on October 29.
Li Xiaodong, of Beijing, became the first recipient of the RAIC Moriyama International Prize last year at a ceremony in Toronto. The CAD $100,000 prize was established by the distinguished Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama, of Toronto, and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC).
One of the most generous architectural prizes in the world, the Moriyama RAIC International Prize is awarded to a building that is judged to be transformative within its societal context and expressive of the humanistic values of justice, respect, equality and inclusiveness. It is open to all architects, irrespective of nationality and location. It recognizes a single work of architecture, as opposed to a life’s work, and celebrates buildings in use.
The English-language lecture takes place on Thursday, October 29 at 7.30 p.m. at the Ontario Association of Architects headquarters, 111 Moatfield Drive. Public seating has been fully booked.
“The lecture will provide a deeper understanding of the philosophy of this young visionary,” says Barry Johns, FRAIC, Chancellor of the RAIC College of Fellows. “We hope that the audience will connect with the inspired work of this international architect.”
Mr. Li will discuss his work philosophy and ideas for the future as well as his prize-winning Liyuan Library in Jiaojiehe village near Beijing.
Designed to improve the quality of life in a poor community, the low-cost and environmentally sensitive library opened in 2012. In addition to providing a place for reading and learning, the library has become a tourist attraction and source of income for the village.
The structure is built of glass and steel. Sticks and twigs from the surrounding forest cover the exterior. Inside, the library consists of one large room with stepped platforms that lead to elevated seating areas. In winter, the library is heated by the sun. In the summer, it is cooled by water from the lake next to it.
“This project is about the relationship of a building to its surroundings and its role in serving the community, rather than a building as a discrete object,” says Mr. Li.
“An architect’s duty is to search and create the highest order for human environments,” he adds.
The lecture is part of the Moriyama RAIC International Prize Illumination Lecture Series. Mr. Li will also speak in Montreal on November 2. The lectures are being recorded and will be available to a broader audience on the Internet.
The lecture series is intended to grow into a digital library of Moriyama RAIC International Prize winners to promote the education of future architects in Canada and increase exposure of the prize. The next Moriyama RAIC International Prize will be awarded in 2017.