beijing-based aoe architects unveil their proposal for a new-generation library within the songdo international business district, in south korea. understanding the need for a library that it will serve as both an important landmark and an active cultural hub in the area, the design imagines a rounded leaning building that blends interestingly with the urban surroundings, and attracts visitors with its distinctive shape.
all images courtesy of aoe architects
the concept for the proposed library starts from understanding that this library will not be seen as solely a landmark, but as an important public space that brings people together, connecting local citizens with visiting tourists. therefore, aoe architects carved out the spaces to create a reading hall (towards the south-facing natural view) and a community living hall (towards north facing city/community) for the citizens/visitors to gather and possibly to host events or exhibitions.
it is hoped that this new-generation library would bring great reading/learning experiences to the public, and being a local venue for events, gatherings, exhibitions to happen at the same time. the rounded form responses best to its surrounding context, it allows maximum access from different directions, minimized the impact on the neighboring kindergarten and maximizing the open space for their citizens to gather.
moreover, based on accurate calculations by the designer, the building leans at an angle of 18.5° to the south to avoid direct sunlight in summer, and keep warm in winter, creating a bright, comfortable and energy-saving space for reading and events. a concrete core wall with a cantilever-truss system is used as the structural system. according to calculations by engineers, the reading hall uses only 4 diagonal structural columns for diagonal bracing, so that visitors enjoy the most extensive space for reading and viewing. after careful consideration, charred wood cladding and glass curtain were selected as the main materials for the façade. the combination of these two materials not only brings contrasts to visual appearances. it also adapts to the local context climatically, the charred wood is expected to last for 80 to 100 years, with minimum maintenance needed.
the interior organizations of the library are main the living hall (north facing), which connects the outdoor public space. events, gathering, open lectures are expected to happen in this space, and the usage of the auditorium, community classrooms are all accessible by the public even if the main library area is closed; and the general reading hall (south facing), this cascading space is organized into multiple reading zones to encourage different learning activities for both individual and group users.
sustainability considerations took place in the early concept stage as the building tilted to the south to avoid direct sunlight and reduce heat gain in summer and gain thermal energy in winter. this would create a comfortable reading space (south facing) and a bright community living hall (north facing) for events and exhibitions. further sustainable and leed design strategy helps the building with natural ventilation, low energy consumption, maximum recycled energy and collections, it is becoming a truly self-sustaining architecture. the value of the library as a place gradually weakens due to the impact of the internet, but it plays an important role in the accumulation, sharing and dissemination of knowledge. it is the home of interesting souls and the cultural repository of a city, with consideration to the social significance of civilization preservation. the comfortable reading spaces and multi-functional public space will reshape the value of the library as a place so that it serves as the cultural paradise for the citizens, and a cultural landmark where people like to visit. the building itself is a smart building “living” in the, and also a “future” library.
name: the library of songdo international city, competition entry
architects: aoe architects
project team: qun wen, jichang pan, xiangting li, ye wang, ruixue fan, yu lu, zhiyu chang, chen liu (interior), yawen xue (interior)
edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom