top of page


A look inside the world of rapidly renewable materials. 

Shanghai Library East:Mix of cultural landmark and engineering bamboo

Shanghai Library East, a new civic landmark and cultural destination located in Pudong new district, the area known for its iconic skyline and sits immediately next to Century Park in Shanghai, has opened to the public on 28th September, it is reputed as the grand end of Shanghai's east-west urban axis. The whole building covers an area of 3.95 hectares, with a total GFA of 115,000 sqm, seven floors above the ground and two floors underground.

It is one of the World’s Largest Libraries designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, Chris Hardie, the firm’s design director, who’ve designed other major libraries in Canada, Denmark, and New Zealand. The design is inspired by Taihu stones, or ancient Chinese scholars’ rock, emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and public art. More than 80% of the building’s space is dedicated to community activity. SHL designers try constantly to break through the boundary of architectural morphology and material application in the library. In 2017 altPlus began collaboration with SHL team to define the potential for the natural materials used in the main atrium. The story had steered towards engineered bamboo as the ideal material for reference, thanks to its natural warmth in aesthetic and texture, and its long history of cultural applications within China. The benefits of being locally sourced, sustainable, modern yet authentic in nature all contributed to its adoption. Early stages of development considered the system to be in solid engineered bamboo dimensional component in forms as illustrated below.

As the team progressed with discussion around the classification of the environment, the fire rating classification needed to be adjusted and a more strict rating applied. The classification for fire rating needed change from Class B(B1) (GB8624-2012) to Class A(A2) or higher. altPlus worked to certify A2 class composite products while at the same time developing a carrier and installation system for the product, and defining the 3-Part Specification with acoustic property considerations for the bidding process – the result was the launch of our Krome i product series.

The Krome i Sound Wall - adopts the scheme of composite aluminum profile and EBBV veneer system, which includes aluminum perforated plate back, with cavity for acoustic absorption fibers/fabric, keel system and auxiliary materials. The fire rating shall reach A2 and the Krome i Sound Wall has good sound absorption function in this specification, with an absorption coefficient not less than 0.9. The altPlus team worked with the ECADI team to confirm the acoustic performance requirements. The texture and effect of natural engineered bamboo texture (EBBV) are consistent with the design effect and are designed to be adjustable through thermal treatment or by surface treatment. Meanwhile, the Krome product simplifies the installation process as all products are prefabricated and factory finished, while on site all components are connected by fastener and locking method for ease of installation.

Product series applied in Program:

The huge library has strict and precise requirements for light and sound, the use of engineering bamboo materials can ensure a good sound absorption effect, and the texture of bamboo veneer can make people feel the change of atrium light after being "picked up" by light. Vertical grilles highlight the vertical sense of space in visual, with natural and fresh finish and interconnected layout, a warm and quiet reading environment is intended to inspire readers, encourage communication, and celebrate knowledge.

altPlus product fire testing report:

Shanghai Library East has flexible, modular, and open spaces that include a theater, an exhibition space, and landscaped reading rooms. Visitors enter via a large atrium dominated by the warm tones of materials such as engineered bamboo, it’ s a strong contrast between the rock-like outside appearance of the building and the warmish open atmosphere in the inside generated by the smartly arranged atrium spaces. altPlus is very honored to witness this important cultural landmark from concept to opening as engineered bamboo consultant in past five years. We are happy to see an increasing market is embracing a wider application range of engineered bamboo composite due to its ecofriendly, rich in cultural, excellent mechanical performance. With the advocacy of green and sustainable development, altPlus will rely on the breakthrough and iteration of engineering bamboo material technology to help more industries practice the green, low-carbon and high-quality development road.


bottom of page