Info & Images: Courtesy Mecanoo
Natural materials like stone and wood, rational yet elegant structural lines and a sensitive use of light characterize Tainan Public Library’s timeless design...
Modern Tainan is born from a history of diverse cultures, peoples and traditions and is developing as a central city amidst a knowledge-based economy. Its Public Library is about its evolving relationship with its past and the direction towards its future.
An expert in creating outstanding libraries, Dutch architects Mecanoo have won the international competition and in partnership with Kaohsiung-based MAYU architect’s, their design for the library represents the meeting of cultures, generations and histories. The 35000 sq.m. library is blueprinted along an open plan and will feature reading rooms, special collections, study spaces, a children’s area, café, conference hall, a 200-seat auditorium, and public courtyards. The plan for the site also encompasses a future extension of 13,000 sq.m.
The building is highlighted by its gradually expanding perimeter. Reaching up into the sky, the building’s perimeter increases with each level. The result is a large canopy that provides shade to the transparent stepped facade and below-grade courtyards.
Around the perimeter of the lower ground floor is an outdoor children’s play area that is visually connected to the indoor children’s reading room via a floor-to-ceiling glazed wall. A sunken plaza on the same level is a multifunctional outdoor space for hosting talks, exhibitions or social gatherings. With a café adjacent, it is designed as a social destination for curious minds, creating a peaceful space for reading, group work, or socialising.
The entrance hall rises three levels to show the library’s internal configuration and the layering of floors. The wooden fenestration filters daylight, creating a rhythmic pattern of light on the stone floor. Curvaceous stairwells show the dynamic flow of people through the building and the generous open-plan spaces ensure the library can adapt to future needs.
On the top floor, the building is wrapped by a delicate second skin, filtering light and reducing solar heat gain. An ancient map of Tainan is transposed onto vertical louvres and represents the city’s evolving relationship with its past and the direction towards its future.
The 40 million euro project is expected to open at the end of 2018.