[Built]  Competition - First Prize

Location:  Tainan, Taiwan
Project Team:  Kwantak AUYEUNG, Jin-de HSU (SD/DD/CD), Dong-long WU (CA)
Total Floor Area:  3144 m2
Project year:  2008-2012
Photographer: Yu-Chen ZAO, Guei-Shiang Ke

Yuwen Library is a critical part of ongoing municipal projects to expand the reading environment for the communities throughout Tainan City. In its particular location, the key design goals of Yuwen Library are to pull together surrounding public facilities by its unique facades, and expose its inner activities to the city by locating large concrete “windows” at building corners. We see this library as a generator of civic programs, and the children’s library, facing the elementary school across the street, plays an important role. 
This project is located in the high quality residential area of Tainan East District. The site is bounded 3-side by streets and surrounded by public facilities: elementary school to the north, community center to the east, the park to the south, and a boulevard to the west. The library is a 4-story concrete construction on a 2965 m2 site with 3144 m2 total floor area. The projected collection capacity is 110,000 books.   
Library is traditionally a place of reading. However, in this information age, digital media and visual-audio resources have formed significant parts of any library collections. Therefore, in contemporary library, the visual acts of reading, browsing, and gazing create a web of inter-reference, resulting a fluid relationship of subjects and objects. In order to capture such contemporary phenomenon, the architectural interpretation of gaze and looking becomes guiding concepts of this project. 

Gaze and looking: Concrete volume as visual vehicle 
The site is adjacent to several urban programs with high public value; therefore, a concrete lower volume is proposed to negotiate those urban events on the one hand, and organize internal functions on the other. Large fenestrations articulated with concrete panels and canopies are located at dramatic moments: street corner facing elementary school (children’s library), frontal view toward community center (young-adult area), gaze window viewable from the park (reading room), and finally the horizontal glazing along the boulevard (lobby and new arrival). These symbolic openings convey the public character of the library, allowing citizens’ gaze penetrates the library boundaries from all angles. The coexistence of the expansive concrete walls and openings suggests enough aura that lures citizens to explore the knowledge inside. 

Simultaneously Iconographic and transparent: Wood volume as symbol of books 
The significant position of Library in the historical and social-cultural context always calls for symbolic formal language. A wood volume is half-lodged on top of the lower concrete volume: this volume contains collective human knowledge and clad in vertical wood louvers. It is the metaphor and representation of books. Characterized by four carved-in curves, the form of the wood volume is distinct and iconographic. Internally, the combination of louvers and expansive glazing generates a transparent and universal space full of diffused sunlight. Here, the desire of gaze and looking is minimized; what is left is the very original act of reading.