The colorful Bishan Public Library in Singapore was inspired by a tree canopy and tree houses to create a vibrant and engaging atmosphere inside. Designed by LOOK Architects to be energy efficient as well as low impact, the library makes use of atriums, natural daylighting, resource efficiencies and passive solar design. Pods cantilevered off the building's street facade provide private reading and study nooks for library patrons. Set within a busy mixed-neighborhood and close to a mass transit station, the bright and cheery library was designed to stir the curiosity of the community.
Bishan Public Library is located in a dense urban area surrounded by a variety of multi-purpose buildings like a mall, residences, a community center, a mass transit station, and a government building. LOOK Architects worked diligently to coordinate conflicting requirements like the view orientation, solar control and regulation of unprotected openings mandated by the statutory fire safety code. To incorporate more natural daylight into the space, a large atrium was worked into the main circulation zone, as well as most of the library floors. The back western wall also shields the building from the harsh evening sun.
The metaphor of the tree canopy also instructed the design of the library and the windows, facade and pods all create a dappled sunlight affect. The cantilevered pods, which are placed on both the facade and in the atrium act like tree houses of sorts and provide visitors private space for reading and study. The colored glass walls further enhance the dappled light affect and make the space feel warm and vibrant. Efficient design of the library and layout enabled LOOK Architects to minimize the use of materials and maximize interior space, which will allow it to be more flexible over the long run.
Images ©Patrick Bingham-Hall