Georges Batzios Architects + Sparch (Rena Sakellaridou and Morpho Papanikolaou) shared with us their proposal, titled 'Calligraphic-scapes,' for the Taichung City Cultural Center competition which stems from the origins of calligraphy. The rigorous transformation of knowledge, to be found in written language, is brought together with the poetic domains of art by means of calligraphy as the medium. As such, it brings together both the library and art museum into a new hybrid entity. More images and architects' description after the break.
We asked: what is the relation of a library and an art museum? How do we create a new entity that is stronger, richer in its potential and more dynamic than two separate buildings? How do we add value to their programmatic co-existence?
We thought about the transformation that takes place by virtue of calligraphy from writing to art; strong and soft brushes create letters for the written word and art at the same time. We felt that calligraphy carried within the seed of how the two buildings would become one strong conceptual whole.Images of calligraphy in their elegant brushes and textured paper came to our mind.
Calligraphy, this ancient art of transformation of clear and precise geometric shapes and lines into letters and art through the conscious and elegant use of the brush, intervenes to transform the raw material of human understanding to written language and art.We decided to design the two buildings together in such a way that written knowledge and art are nested to each other, appreciated and experienced through the programmatic fluid space of a path of knowledge.
It all starts with the geometrical simplicity and formal rigor of the Library. Indeed, a Library is about knowledge. And knowledge requires rigor, while art appeals to both the intellect and the emotions. A Library is about its books and the people reading them, about book stacks and reading rooms. For us a Library is also a place of experimentation and fluidity, in the same way that knowledge is fluid and always changing. On the other hand, the storage of books needs to be efficient and to have the potential of expansion in the future, while access to the books needs to be immediate and multiple.
We design thus a Library in a reverse mode, one that exposes its hidden stacks: we place them to the exterior and we create the external boundary of the Library with them. We design a continuous flow of books, a flow of knowledge and transform this into a main feature of the library. An automated system, used up to now only for the backstage of big libraries, becomes in our proposal the feature that continuously transforms the external envelop of the building. Like a highly technological factory, the automated system creates a continuous flow, rich in possibilities: it can change to accommodate different colors, to shade the external double skin, to create patterns, to celebrate anniversaries.It generates a continuous movement of books, a continuous rearrangement of knowledge.
The external all glass double skin envelope of the Library stacks encloses in its geometrical simplicity the softly unwinding path that we design for the reading spaces. Open and multiple in its programmatic possibilities, this is the path of knowledge. The Museum is then transformed to a calligraphic mountain form.
The two buildings are nested to each other; they evolve from one another. The nested form starts form geometric simplicity and gradually is transformed to the calligraphic contours that shape the mountain.The path moves around the two peaks of the Mountain. Visually accessible and strong in its form, this is a Mountain that structurally supports the whole structure, strong and fragile at the same time as if made by unwinding strips of paper to remind us that calligraphy needs a medium to work on.
The hybrid double building becomes an architectural landscape that evolves from the rigorous geometrical formations of the Library shelves, a formal envelope that encloses the whole, to the unwinding path of the programmatic reading spaces, a path of movement and program that moves around the Mountain of the Art Museum. The ground becomes a continuous surface that folds and rises to form this Mountain with its two peaks that support the roof. The roof, as a natural landscape with reflecting pools and natural vegetation, is designed as a serene landscape that offers the passing birds a nest for a while in their trip to other places.
A large circular opening allows natural light, rain, fresh air to enter. Flows of people move around this big atrium. The large expansive ground surface is allocated to nature and flows of people, on sittings and areas for art. Between the two peaks a large passage is created, for people to move through on the ground level.
The building becomes a fusion between the environment, art and architecture, while nature invades and shapes the ground floor and the roof.
Architects: Georges Batzios Architects + Sparch (Rena Sakellaridou and Morpho Papanikolaou)
Location: Taichun, Taiwan
Architectural Team: Zou Qiang, Richard Sather, Christos Choudeloudis, Paris Manari
Local Architect: Enta Yang
Structural Engineer: Pagonis-Polichronopoulos-Kinatos Co.
Mechanical and Electrical Engineer: 3GEnergy
Landscape Designer: Shagik Berberian
Client: Taichung City Government
Surface Area: 60,000 m2
Budget: 90,000,000 USD