China Resources Archives Library by Studio Link-Arc

In Xiao-Jing-Wan, Shenzhen, China, the China Resources Archives Library designed by Studio Link-Arc is a wonderful statement, a building that you surely want to check out if in the area and you love architecture. The main function of the building is an archive that holds digital and physical records, all in a vault that is subterranean and built right into the hillside. Right on top of the archive, the project is functioning as a beautiful lecture hall and gallery space serving adjacent campus, adding a cultural dimension and a civic dimension to the entire project.


Finished in 2018 and covering a 9000 square meters area, the China Resources Archives Library covers 2 upper floors housing public programs. These are restricted and defined by archive vaults underneath. In order to increase connections between the site and internal program, the architects created 2 lovely interior public spaces:

  • The first one is the entry lobby that connects to the main campus
  • The second one is a dramatic space meant for exhibition, with beautiful views of the landscape and the city.

These two spaces are connected to each other by a skylight hall that offers access to a lecture hall and a gallery.

This building has a really large mass, one that is articulated through a great multipronged strategy maximizing the local conditions. The interior lobby is perfectly articulated at the main entrance, managing to create a public entrance that is dignified.

At the site’s east side, an exhibition lobby is fully defined by an angular cut. It is dramatic and adds a visual drama while connecting an exterior terrace to the internal public space. This is a terrace that enjoys full dramatic views of the landscape and the city. There is also a connection to a series of terraces and ramps.

Link-Arc tried to use various possibilities but ended up focused on a geometric module that was defined by brick. Brick is used as solid cladding in order to promote a full sense of weight and mass. Architectural layering and transparency are also promoted with the use of brick. Then, the brick mass is combined with clear subtractive gestures that combine with skin effects in order to create a fully dynamic exterior massing and even a compelling interior experience.

Hand-made custom brick modules are added to build a texture to surfaces connecting the library to the earth. If you take a look at the images, you notice different surfaces created for bricks, each with its own dramatic effect. Every single brick, fired and formed by hand, is recording its making and manages to create a fully dynamic surface, one that actually changes as the day passes.

Photographs: Shengliang Su