Most people would imagine libraries being made up of large platforms fully equipped with rows of desks and bookshelves stacked on one another with strict division of programs in the building. However, the second prize winning proposal by Seung Hyun, Yuh and Se Hyeon, Kim from studio SH for the new library typology for Gosan starts by examining and breaking apart this hierarchical inclination. By blurring this strict boundary and providing flexibility in its library program, the ‘White Diamond’ becomes not only a place for exploring knowledge but also a space for meditation with diverse private and public experiences. More images and architects’ description after the break.
What could be the future of our local library be like? Should it be designed in a specific form adapting new technology of modern days or should it focus on trying to satisfy the needs of the locals? Unlike other developed nations in Europe or America, there has been less opportunity for Korea to explore and provide diverse range of library programs for the community.
The site where the new local Gosan Library would be sitting is a residential area facing directly to the main road. Although the northern side of the site is relatively open, the other three sides sit quiet close to the neighbors. Thus, placing a typical box massing would generate a very dense atmosphere which may not be so much preferred. Platforms are no more symbols of segregation but of steps toward the journey of accommodating diversity and richness. Two sides of the mass, one facing the north view of the main road and the other on the southern side is cut diagonally to create more open atmosphere in site. Also, these cut-out spaces would be converted to squares and small parks to attract pedestrians.
The main feature in the design of the ‘White Diamond’ is reexamining the notion of platform in library structure. Typical library space programs are designed in large floor plans allowing maximum openness and circulation. However, such approach gives less sense of privacy for users who want to come to library on their own for the time of meditation. In the new proposal, platforms are integrated with the overall circulation throughout the building. The platforms function not only as steps for circulation but also each step is occupied by individual users for private activities. On the intermediate levels, the platforms are designed with enough area to be able to accommodate group activities. Integrated with the ‘shelf-core’ structure of the library, different sizes of furniture extrude out from the core wall as small shelves, desks for studying and browsing. The conventional notion of hierarchical programming within the platform is broken but instead becomes a space providing both privacy and publicity for reading and thinking.
The logic of the façade follows the rhythm of the ‘shelf-wall’ core in the library. Made up of shelf modules of 900mm x 900mm size, the grid line of the ‘shelf-wall’ is directly projected upon the outer façade, where the size of one module is stretched to equal that of the two small modules. If the ‘shelf-wall’ core in the library activates for both structural and functional purposes, the outer façade performs more as a shading device. Both incorporating the horizontal and vertical louver, the façade is also the key sustainable feature for controlling the amount of daylights into the building. Different types of glass would be inserted on each shelf module. For the library and entrance façade, transparent glasses would be used but for other parts translucent glasses would be installed. Different modes of day light atmosphere would be created whether you are in the library or in the office. Also, the façade would have different tones of light emitting out during night time, making the overall building look more elegant and delicate.
The courtyard in the library building is one of the main features of the design; one in the library and the other in the lounge. The library courtyard created by the inner ‘shelf-wall’ façade not only activates as a space for meditation but is also the key element for the ventilation strategy. Through the aperture on the southern east façade, the courtyard attracts the wind flow from the south side to circulate throughout the whole library building. The courtyard in the lounge on 3rd floor also works as a means for natural ventilation. The ‘shelf-wall’ façade system is integrated into this ventilation strategy as well. The different steps and the depth of the façade wall system allows to prevent direct rain fall and also performs as shading devices as mentioned earlier. If the courtyard works in macro scale for ventilation strategy, individual shelf modules function in the micro scale.