Between Books and Trees / JAJA

Our friends from JAJA shared their latest proposal, which was awarded third prize, for a new public library in Daegu, South Korea.  Pushing the boundary of the notion that a library must be a contained, quiet and nearly isolated space, JAJA’s proposal treats the library as massive public zone for the fostering of communal creativity, and dissolves the separation between inside and nature.   JAJA, typically noted for their form making abilities, have opted for a minimialistic formal language of the architecture, so that the streamlined library can capture the textures of the existing trees and the books within to create a cohesive experience that celebrates both.
More, including images, drawings and model photos, after the break.
The project proposes to widen an existing park adjacent to the site, allowing this natural quality to invigorate the library.   As the library is situated within a densely populated city, the opportunity to bring green into a building with  provide a unique experience for all visitors.
The building is defined by thin floors that float among a forest of columns, blurring the transition from exterior to interior with a delicate play of light. The library cantilevers above, defining public space for events outside the tradition library like book markets, parades, and outdoor exhibitions.

“We propose to merge the spatial qualities of the trees and the potential of the library into one cohesive identity. The library will merge the exterior and interior through a series of spatial transitions within an inclusive environment for the local community,” explained the architects.


On the inside, the functional aspect of the library informs the interior environment as the simple beauty of thousands of books creates a timeless visual and spatial quality that articulate the library as a special place for learning and knowledge sharing. To maximize this effect, the library’s collection wraps around the entirety of one central space.  This central void becomes a dominate aspect of the plan, and informs the placement of desk spaces and shelves.


Because of the light and open feel of the building, as the seasons change, the trees become a backdrop of color and light that will shine through the interior spaces.   At a systems level, the library also takes advantage of the natural cooling and shading the trees offer, as well as passive ventilation.


The integration of building and nature, on both an aesthetic and functional level, allows the architecture to capitalize on the library’s site while offering a different kind of library experience for the users.

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Between Books and Trees / JAJA" 19 Oct 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 Sep 2014. <>

1 comment

Share your thoughts