Together with Kaohsiung-based MAYU Architects+, Mecanoo has won a competition to design the new Tainan Public Library in Taiwan. With much-nuanced experience in library design, the Dutch practice focused on the translation of values to materiality. The new Tainan Public Library “represents the meeting of cultures, generations and histories,” say the architects. These qualities will be manifested through the use of “natural materials, like stone and wood” and “a sensitive use of light and shadow” intended to create a timeless design.
“Rational yet elegant structural lines” guide a configuration of three levels of the entrance hall. Each level of the building increases in perimeter as it moves vertically toward the sky, resulting in a large canopy that provides shade to transparent façades and sunken courtyards.
Wooden fenestration and stone floors create beautiful moments where daylight fills the interior space in rhythmic patterns. Curvilinear stairways give users a dynamic experience through the generous open-plan spaces that can be adapted to future needs.
The upper-most level is wrapped with a delicate second skin that is elegant yet practical: it filters natural light and reduces solar heat gain. With an understanding of the city’s cultural outlook, the architects have transposed an ancient map of Tainan onto vertical louvers “representing the city’s evolving relationship with its past and the direction towards its future.”
The 377,000-square-foot (35,000-square-meter) library, featuring reading rooms, special collections, a children’s area, café, 200-seat auditorium and public courtyards, is expected to open at the end of 2018. The plan for the site is also designed to include a 140,000-square-foot (13,000-square-meter extension).