The main building of Xiamen University Malaysia is generously donated by Mr. Robert Kuok Hock Nien. Nobly declined to name the building after himself, Mr. Robert Kuok preferred to name it "People's Great Hall(百姓大楼)" , in line with his wish that it becomes a hub of knowledge for everyone to learn and enjoy.
Located in the center of the main building block, facing the main gate of the university, People's Great Hall is the most iconic landmark of the campus. It is nine stories high with a total floor area of 36,000 square meters. It can house more than 1 million books and journals and contain over 2,000 seats. Equipped with various advanced facilities, including book stacks, exhibition areas, innovation/creative space, information/learning space, seminar rooms, and lecture halls, this building is able to accommodate the needs of study and research while providing comprehensive services for knowledge exchange.
The building will serve as a public space for the community. According to German philosopher Jürgen Habermas, a public space is not only defined by its geographical characteristics, but also by whether it is a place of widespread participation, communication and interaction among people who enter the space, without distinction of race, belief, gender, profession or any other identities. Offering space for activities like learning, thinking, research, innovation and communication while enabling idea exchange among communities, People's Great Hall is a typical example of public space.
"No University can be great unless it has a great library," said Prof. James D. Hart, a famous American scholar. A university is a place for gathering and training talents and a space where people carry out life-long learning. Even those who are successful in business or in society may need to continue learning and upgrading their knowledge, in order to keep up with the rapid social and technological changes.
About 100 years ago, Mr. Tan Kah Kee, the founder of Xiamen University, outlined the three major tasks of the University: (1) to foster specialized talents, (2) to study profound knowledge and (3) to expound world civilization. In order to achieve these tasks, the University needs a great library. The library must contain the essence of human civilisation - a well-established world of knowledge expressed, recorded and organized by great scholars with scientific methods and various languages. The library should also provide endless stream of knowledge, as it is the "heart" of the University.
The building's architecture style was inspired by Mr. Tan Kah Kee, and reflects the culture of both China and Malaysia. However, the library should not only be treasured for its magnificent exterior, but also for its modern and advanced amenities and easy access. Upon its completion (in near future), it shall impress people with its amazing collections and strive to become an ocean of knowledge.
As the University serves and leads the society, People's Great Hall shall serve the University while open to the public, society and communities. The library shall strive to become a library for the people, as intended by Mr. Robert Kuok.