Dutch architecture studio Mecanoo and Kaohsiung-based MAYU architects+ have just won a competition to design a 40 million Euro public library for the Taiwanese city of Tainan. Filled with natural light, the top-heavy tiered building will sport a beautiful double skin that displays an ancient city map as a nod to Tainan’s historical significance as the island’s former capital. The decorated facade will also help filter light and reduce solar heat gain.
The collaboration between Mecanoo and MAYU architects+ is particularly interesting because the Dutch East Indian Company initially established the city of Tainan as a fort during Dutch rule in the 17th century. The Tainan Public Library will represent “the meeting of cultures, generations, and histories,” writes Mecanoo. The 35,000-square-meter library will comprise reading rooms, special collections, study spaces, a children’s area, cafe, conference hall, a 200-seat auditorium, and public courtyards. There is also a 13,000-square-meter planned extension.
The footprint of each floor increases in the stacked building to create a transparent top-heavy facade that helps shade the below-grade courtyards. Natural light spills in through the glazed facade, while wooden fenestration helps filter daylight. The building is organized around a three-story central atrium and features large and adaptable open-plan spaces throughout. “Natural materials, like stone and wood, rational yet elegant structural lines and a sensitive use of light and shadow characterise the building’s timeless design,” writes Mecanoo. “An ancient map of Tainan is transposed onto vertical louvres (on the top floor) and represents the city’s evolving relationship with its past and the direction towards its future.” The new library is expected to open by the end of 2018.
Images via Mecanoo architecten