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Huaxia Library closing for renovation

Huaxia Library
Huaxia Library

Situated on the Suiyuan campus of NNU, a place with a good reputation for being the most beautiful campus in the Orient, Huaxia Library is immersed in a classic and solemn atmosphere. In commemoration of its eighty-fifth anniversary, the library is currently scheduled to launch the largest renovation project in its history. The Huaxia Library renovation program will start at the end of November 2019, and is expected to be completed within two years. The program will address leaky roof problems, improve aging infrastructure as well as modernize the building.

NNU’s Suiyuan Campus features a complex of elegant, fitting traditional buildings, among which Huaxia Library sparkles with its lovingly ethnic Chinese architecture. Over the past several decades, the library has witnessed ups and downs especially during wartime, but throughout it has continued to hold its characteristic spirit and traditions. It was designed by a famous American architect, Henry Killam Murphy, during the 1910s for a church university called Ginling College. The construction went on in three stages: 1921-1934 the inception period; 1954-1956 the adjustment and expansion period; 1983-1990 the steady development period. Against the backdrop of the Chinese Revival of Classic Architecture during the early 1900’s, many church universities were constructed in traditional Chinese styles. Ginling College from which Nanjing Normal University was established in 1952, combined eastern courtyards with western quadrangles in its construction. The idea of building a quaint Huaxia Library was conceived. The library holds memories, affinity and affection for the campus by all NNUers.

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A blueprint of Ginling College

Huaxia is a historical concept representing the Chinese nation and civilization. Hua signifies beauty while Xia represents grandness. As its name suggests, Huaxia Library is known for its deep and historic holdings. In Suiyuan Campus, quaint buildings and courtyards are well organized as a whole with zigzagging corridors connecting them in a picturesque disorder. The No.100 building, the campus’s most prominent building, is featured with a hipped gable roof with double eaves(重檐歇山顶), Dou-gong(interlocking bracket set widely used on top of columns, eaves and cross beam as the basic element of the Chinese wood structure) and red pillars. The layout of the No.100 building reveals its nobleness and grace. Enclosed by the surrounding mountains, the complex of buildings exerts novelty and practicability. Wandering in Suiyuan Campus, one can easily fall in love with it.

As the mutual living space for all students studying here, Suiyuan Campus has been humanized and perfected throughout the passing decades. The spirit of the classical ethnic architecture persists till now, and the memories of students also have accumulated and linger on the campus. The campus has been overflowing with passion and vitality of life from different generations of students and Huaxia Library, as the pure place for study, is has specifically been memorialized in every person’s mind. Although students have studied here at different times, all of them share the same “holy land”—Huaxia Library. In fact, this “holy land” has been perfected through the effort of every student. Upon the completion of Huaxia Library, students at that time spontaneously participated in the work to make the library put into use early. Subsequent students also act in the same way as their predecessors did when necessary. Apart from putting effort into the perfection of Huaxia Library, students studying here also endow the library with new experiences. They can communicate in the bright and clean reading room as well as recite classical passages in different languages on the spiral staircase. Or they can just read silently in the stack room, with scenery spilling in through classical-style windows from outside. Everywhere in Huaxia Library manifests students’ sincerity and affection for it.

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Suiyuan campus as well as Huaxia library is a great attempt of at Chinese Revival of Classic Architecture and has its unique elegant beauty. Witnessing the history of decades, the architecture retains its original elegance and the persistence of Housheng (the motto of Ginling College). The essence of Housheng is respect for students and life, and the Huaxia Library achieves this because of the particular connection between humans and architecture that it has. After this large renovation project is completed, Huaxia library will turn over a new leaf and become more appealing than ever before and continue the spirit of Housheng, which has been inherited for more than one hundred years, and it will continue to foster and develop with the help from old and new blood alike.

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