Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Public Library

National Archive and Public Library, Varna, Bulgaria
Year: 2015, Competition
Main Use: Public Library, National Archive
Site Area: 3700 sqm
Bldg. Area: 2,500 sqm
GFA: 18,480 sqm
Storeys: 12

The Varna Public Library functions as a public space for learning, exchange and information storing. The transparent building is designed to stimulate learning, curiosity and knowledge sharing. The building is layered with green spaces where visitors can experience how the library transforms with changing events and activities. 

The library comprises of three shifting volumes, encompassing three courtyards and four landscaped terraces wrapping the building at different levels. The landscaped terrace on the ground level acts as an extension to the main entrance lobby, creating a piazza for events and film screening, accesses to the bicycle shelter and carpark.

The filigree screens on the facades allow the interiors to be filled with indirect natural light, forming places for reflection and ideas sharing. Open screens with sliding windows allow for cross ventilation. Different degrees of transparencies on the polycarbonate and glazing will be used to respond to the needs of natural light and privacy.




Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Public Library

Architecture / Terrace / Courtyards

Varna Library is a functional building with enhanced green and spatial qualities for visitors to experience how it can connect, transform and accommodate different events and activities. It is designed as a transparent building, which stimulates learning, curiosity, thinking and knowledge sharing.

The library comprises of three shifting volumes, which demarcates the functional programs. The building is grounded in its place with a 60m x 40m footprint; encompassing a total net covered floor area of 18,480 sqm, including green areas of three internal courtyards and four landscaped terraces. The design considers the landscape as an extension of the main entrance lobby. The open green terraces wrap the library at different levels, allowing the green spaces to connect with its surrounding context naturally.




Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Public Library




Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Public Library

The filigree screens on the facades forms a place for reflection and ideas sharing. Different functions from semi-silent informal settings to quiet individual reading rooms and contemplation areas are filled with natural indirect light. The windows are operable to allow for cross ventilation and air to penetrate deep into the building, providing ambiguous boundaries between the inside and outside.  

Semi-indoor and outdoor areas such as courtyards, terraces and visual connection to city views are planned throughout the library. These informal spaces can spur conversations and increase synergies and creativity between individuals.




Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Public Library

By providing double volume spaces and courtyard insertions throughout the building, different levels are functionally and visually connected. This hybrid between privacy and transparency opens to different perceptions, interpretations and use.


Space Planning – Functional

The space planning of the three volumes is based on the urban studies of how to integrate the huge volume sensitively within the urban context. The separation of the three volumes also makes the building function to be easily readable from the outside.  

Volume 1 – Public rooms which welcome and engage with visitors through exhibitions and events.

Volume 2 – Library main storage facility with quiet reading area.

Volume 3 –Specialized areas including teenagers and children zones occupy the uppermost volume with more flexible and playful reinterpretations. Visitors can access the roof terrace and enter into an individual contemplative room at the top of the library to capture the panoramic view of the city.  


Carpark entrance is from Bratya Miladinovi St with exits on Prof. Marin Drinov St. The 24 hour carpark, which provides 361 parking lots, functions independently form the library. It has its own vertical circulation to connect to the public areas that would operate outside of normal working hours on the ground level of the library. Public transits, bicycle lanes with parking and carpark can be accessed through the ground level landscape terrace.




Cheungvogl Architects Hong Kong Public Library




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