Bookworms feast within wooden sanctuary

Deep in the heart of a valley surrounded by rocky hills, a wooden library sits just over a creek on the outskirts of Beijing (2nd photo), seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

Every weekend, hundreds of bookworms flock to Liyuan Library in Jiaojiehe Village (1st photo), a book sanctuary surrounded by chestnut, walnut and peach trees whose branches were used to decorate the steel-and-glass building.

Built by award-winning architect Li Xiaodong, these twigs are aligned in vertical rows and the gaps between their uneven shapes allow sunlight to filter into the library's reading room, while keeping the premises cool during summer.

Bookshelves that also serve as walls line the reading room, and readers can relax with books on the floor or on elevated platforms.

With space to hold just 40 people at a time, visitors have to queue to enter the library, which opens only at the weekends.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2018, with the headline 'Bookworms feast within wooden sanctuary'. Subscribe