The condition for this proposal by Hyunjoon Yoo Architects for the Taichung City Cultural Center competition is very unique and original since two distinct buildings, library and fine arts museum, should coexist in one site. For the architectural design that fulfills this exclusive condition, the architects applied the notion of "Taiji", the verity of yin and yang that has existed since the ancient era of Chinese history. In this new design, the spatial arrangement of library and art museum are planned to confront and interact at the same time, giving the positive effect to each other. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Rationality and sensibility, the both terms are the base that establishes human culture or intelligence. Human's rationality is revealed through philosophy, mathematics and science whereas the sensibility is freely expressed in our lives in the form of art, music, literature, etc. Both terms can be interpreted into architectural language, where the rationality is defined as a Library and the sensibility is depicted as a Fine Arts Museum.
Rationality and sensibility are often depicted as a conflicted concept. However, those notions should be seen as a communicative, complementary force rather than conflictive and contradictory, just like the negative and positive force in the universe. As the men only gets completed while the two forces complement and compete against each other, Taichung Cultural Center is designed in a way that library and fine arts museum are simultaneously complementing and competing against one to another.
In the library, people read books while looking at the art museum and they also constantly access it from the passage through the art museum. On the other hand, the exhibition at the art museum takes place with the view of library set as a background and the two volumes simultaneously penetrate through one to another. Therefore, the interweaving of two volumes allows the complete design by enhancing the deficient points.
Any space where the two programs are dismissed is considered as a pure space, creating the void that provides the skylight to the library and the art museum. The new Taichung Cultural Center will be the complete body of space created by the integration of the nature, rationality and sensibility.
Space Structure of the Library
The library spaces are structured in a way that people can read books while enjoying the natural landscape. From old times in China, the scholars used to appreciate the natural landscape in the distance and they also read in a room where they kept the Bonsai – the plant that reflects a "smaller-scale nature" – and observed the landscape paintings on the walls. This particular lecture room was fully integrated with the nature in the forms of various viewpoints such as perspective view, second distance view, near view and shaft diameter.
Inheriting such tradition, in Taichung Library, the books are stored in the zone where the sunlight from the west side is completely blocked out and the reading zone is arranged along the terrace with the maximum natural light. As people read books in this area, they are being exposed to the green wall of the art museum that reflects the traditional Chinese landscape. The consequent vista is resulted from the tradition that introduced the nature to the architecture through the objects such as landscape paintings or Bonsai.
The readers in the library access the art museum through the library reading zone, adjacent to the valley. In this zone, people get to read books while the art works surround them. The surface of the library wall that penetrates the art museum has been designed as a bookshelf, from where people get to look over the art museum once they create view frame by taking away the books from the bookshelf. The library – the rational space – and the art museum – the space of sensibility – can therefore communicate through this visual relationship that has been established by the architectural input.
Space Structure of the Art Museum
The art museum is the space where the light is strictly controlled. Therefore, the following design is completed with the minimal fenestration but the maximum skylight. The north light filtered through diffused reflection system controls the lighting and the limited observatory window provides a clear view while enjoying the exhibition at the art museum. The attached terrace on the third floor is served as the outdoor sculpture park where the visitors can take a pause without going all the way down to the ground floor. Furthermore, they get to communicate with the people from the library building.
The circulation path for the visitors of the art museum also exhibits the quality of "interweaving": the visitors at the exhibition hall enter the library building through the mass that connects the valley. From the art museum that penetrates the library mass, the visitors enjoy the exhibition while having the library books as a backdrop and simultaneously, people at the library will have the view of the art museum in their background while reading books or looking down. Since the eye level of the people in the art museum and in the library is relatively altered, they have the unique visual experience - they are positioned to look up or look down depending on their spots.
The west side of the site has picturesque view of the park but it requires a control of blazing sunlight. As a result, the west side becomes the extension of park, which is entirely washed with green plants. However, few observatory windows are installed for the public to enjoy the pleasant view of the park from the inside of library.
The Cultural Center will be able to reduce the cooling and heating cost with the air-tunnel system installed in the basement parking area, which will neutralize the outside air temperature and flow it into the room air. The central valley naturally creates the airflow, which cools down the entire building. Besides, the reflected light from the green wall naturally flows into the library reading zone.
The water feature of the valley, which divides the Cultural Center into library and art museum, is linked to the wave making pool on the south side of the site. This water feature is served as a swimming pool that enables people to enjoy while appreciating the view on the wall of the art museum.