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Concept: Daegu Gosan Public Library

Nov 27, 2012
  • Article by POC+P architects
  • Designer
  • Architect POC+P architects

Australian-based architectural studio Patrick O’Carrigan + Partners’ proposal for a new library in Daegu, Korea, combines four archetypes across culture to create a new symbol. The square, the verandah, the shrine and the courtyard are merged into a simple but powerful form: the grounded-ness of the square, the sheltered path of the verandah, the sanctity of the shrine, and the central void of the courtyard are combined to create a new sub-metropolitan library that is open and closed, light and dark, contemporary and timeless, singular and universal… a metaphor of interchange and connectedness.

The design unashamedly embraces books as an enduring tool of knowledge transfer. Just as the medium has evolved from cuneiform on clay tablet, from roll to codex, from papyrus to vellum, from printed paper to digital tablet… the form may change, but the purpose – the free exchange of information – is enduring. A disciplined solution, the simple, elegant enclosed form suggests a life to be revealed. Open space in Daegu is at a premium, and the siting of this 3100sqm library within an existing green space requires a sensitivity to the context. Thus the library form is treated as a pavilion in an urban forest, and its generous presence animates and anchors this corner within the diverse city grid of Daegu. Visitors first discover the library pavilion as a quiet, warm object in the city – illuminated from within. From the street, it is a garden oasis, an immediate change of pace from the vibrant city.

As in the traditional Korean courtyard house the most significant ground level space is the central timber floored amphitheatre at: permeable, open and light, a series of reading and lounging platforms tier down to basement level exhibition spaces for temporary displays. A central library chamber floats shrine-like above, and there is a sense of moving into a special realm. Cloaked in white birch lumber and warm colours, the two-storey wall-to-wall floor-to-ceiling stack is the heart of the library, protected by and protecting its users, sheltered by an elegant lightweight ‘wrap’ of vertical fins in Korean birch that filters and shades. This protective layer folds back at select points to mimic a series of traditional folding screens(chaekgori), and the dynamic transparency and playfulness opens the building’s activities to street life.

POC+P Architects Team: Patrick O’Carrigan, Ivana Simkovic, Katie Yeung
Support: Charlotte O’Carrigan, Nick Elliott, Jinjoo Ko
Location: Daegu, Korea
Program: Public Library + Square
Client: Daegu Architectural Culture Confederation
Program Area: 3,100sqm
Site area: 2100sqm
Levels: 3 + 1

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