All images courtesy of Mecanoo
Dutch architecture studio Mecanoo has won a competition to design a public library for the Taiwanese city of Tainan. The 35,000 square meter scheme will feature reading rooms, special collections, study spaces, a children’s area, a café, a conference hall, a 200-seat auditorium, and public courtyards. The plan, which has been developed with local practice MAYU Architects+, also encompasses a possible future extension of 13,000 square meters.
The project is defined by a use of natural materials, such as stone and wood, which adhere to rational structural lines. The building’s perimeter increases on each level, resulting in a large canopy that provides shade to the transparent stepped façade and below-grade courtyards. Around the lower ground floor is an outdoor children’s play area. A floor-to-ceiling glazed wall creates a visual connection between this play area and the indoor children’s reading room. A sunken plaza on the same level forms a multifunctional outdoor space for hosting talks, exhibitions or social gatherings.
The structure’s wooden fenestration filters daylight, creating a rhythmic pattern of light on the stone floor, while dynamic stairwells show the flow of people moving through the building. Throughout the design, generously proportioned open-plan spaces ensure that the library can be adapted to future needs. On the top floor, a second skin is wrapped around the building, filtering light and reducing solar heat gain. An ancient map of tainan is transposed onto a series of vertical louvers, designed to represent the city’s evolving relationship with its past, and the direction of its future. The €40 million project is expected to open at the end of 2018.