This week, folks in the United States are celebrating Thanksgiving. The holiday is a time of reflection and appreciation, but most of us aren’t any good at that, so we’re doing what we do best: eating copious amounts of food and then shopping ourselves into misery and debt. This week, I thought I would share recent examples of buildings devoted to the decidedly loftier goals of education and civic engagement: libraries.
These are images of the competition entry by Danish firm JAJA Architects for a public library in Daegu, Korea. Although the firm did not win first prize (instead, they placed a respectable third) their entry still reads as an amazing place to relax and spend the day studying. The firm’s website features a slide show walking through diagrammatic design decisions, explaining the project through a logical series of drawings and renderings. The urban setting of the library surprised me because much of the material used to represent the project focuses on the relationship of reading spaces to the trees outside. Being able to achieve this kind of sylvan study space in an urban environment would be stunning.
The project is also refreshingly straight forward and neatly organized. In architecture school, it took me an embarrassingly long time to be able to distinguish daylight and sunlight. In the context of a library, daylight is pleasant and desirable, but direct sunlight is damaging and annoying. The massing of this project addresses the daylight dilemma, with each story of the project growing larger to shade the books below from direct sunlight. The only sad thing about the project is that it will never see the light of day.