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Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Taiwan Architecture News - Feb 17, 2021 - 13:44   5048 views

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Mecanoo has completed the new Tainan Public Library with introverted stepped shape in the city of Tainan, Taiwan

Named Tainan Public Library, the new library takes cues from Tainan's history and the city's local culture and has been designed for the tropical climate of Tainan.

Designed with Kaohsiung-based MAYU Architects, the 37,000-square-metre library houses children’s, teenagers and general collection and includes exhibition spaces for modern art and heritage collection, 24/7 study room, multimedia library, café, 324-seat theatre, 123-seat conference room, offices, multipurpose rooms, maker space, bookshop, archive, parking garage, four patios, roof gardens and a square. 

Mecanoo won a competition to design the new Tainan Public Library in Taiwan in 2016 and construction work for the project started in 2017. The library has opened to the public this year. 

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

"The oldest city in Taiwan, Tainan has a rich history influenced by different cultures. There are remnants of maritime trade with Europe in the 17th century, of the Chinese Ming Dynasty and Japanese settlements from the beginning of the 20th century," said Mecanoo. 

"The city is rich in temples, including the famous 17th century Confucius Temple with its cantilevered roofs and beautifully carved ceilings."

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Yu-Chen Chao

The library is a home to the city's cultural heritage, modern art, music, films and over a million books, including more than 16,000 from the Japanese occupation period and of course, is equipped with the latest technologies of a modern library, as the studio explains.

For the design language of the library, Mecanoo created the most striking feature on the overall form and used an inverted stepped shape. Slender columns wrap the building and support the cantilevers in rhythmically placed quartets, according to the studio, this "gives a feeling of weaving your way through a modern bamboo forest." 

The architect crowned the building with vertical aluminium slats by using carved flower patterns, which are reminiscent of the decorative latticed windows in the old town. 

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Yu-Chen Chao

"These slats filter the light and keep the heat out. In the evening, this unique facade is recognizable from afar," added Mecanoo.

As Mecanoo highlights, "the stepped building offers shelter to visitors both inside and outside and creates a smooth transition from exterior and interior." 

Below the cantilevers, there are four sunken patios for outdoor activities, with the largest accessible from the square; lectures, concerts and exhibitions can be organized here. 

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

When visitors looking up, they can see the special finish of the awnings: champagne-coloured aluminium panels with a linear staggered relief, providing additional decorative elements to the facades. 

The key design principle in this library, its rational construction methodology allows maximum flexibility, so that the building is prepared for future changes, responding changing programmatic needs.

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Yu-Chen Chao

Tainan Public Library is a place of Art and Books

Upon visitors enter inside, they are welcomed with the double-height atrium inhabited with a work of art by Paul Cocksedge

"The installation seems to freeze the moment when white sheets of paper are blown away by the wind, symbolising freedom of thought and the pleasure of reading. Art is exhibited everywhere in the building, not just to look at but also interactive art to touch and play with," continued Mecanoo. 

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

A red sculptural staircase creates a sharp contrast and is added as an exciting element to the geometric building, the red-colored staircase intersects all levels and is visible everywhere through the subtle wooden-slatted flight of stairs. 

The ground floor is spacious, transparent and warm due to the wood finish. Upon entry, visitors are greeted by an arrivals area and the welcome desk, a living room is also located here where you can read newspapers and magazines. Touchscreens with which visitors can explore the collection and a self-service point for borrowing books also feature on this level. 

The children's library is equipped with imaginative bookcases and an adjoining patio under the awning for outdoor play is situated below. This level is also home to a spacious study room with its own entrance, where students can study 24/7.

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

One of the floors of the library is dedicated to heritage collection

As you make your way to the upper levels of the building, visitors first encounter a media library with seating and alcoves where visitors can watch movies, along with a library for teenagers with its own lounge. 

The general collection is located on the level above this. Beyond there is a floor dedicated to the heritage collection including the Tainan Memorial Exhibition, Japanese Collection Archive and books by Taiwanese authors. 

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

There are also four outdoor areas situated here, which are arranged as roof gardens, as well as three multifunctional spaces for classrooms/workshops and a cafe. At the top of the building, the theatre and conference hall are placed, along with offices for members of staff. 

From the uppermost levels of the building, a beautiful view of the city through the vertical slats is on display. Furthermore, the building has an art gallery, a maker space and Braille library. There is also a bookshop, so that you can not only read books, but also purchase them. 

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Yu-Chen Chao

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Image © Ethan Lee

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

First floor plan

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Second floor plan

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Section

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

South East elevation

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

North West elevation 

Mecanoo completes new Tainan Public Library with inverted stepped form in Taiwan

Sketch 

Project facts

Program: 37.000 m2 library with children’s, teenagers and general collection, exhibition spaces for modern art and heritage collection, 24/7 study room (130 seats), multimedia library, café, theatre (324 seats), conference room (123 seats), offices, multipurpose rooms, maker space, bookshop, archive, parking garage, four patios, roof gardens and a square. 

Design: 2016-2017 

Realisation: 2017-2020 (opening 2021) 

Client: Cultural Affairs Bureau, Tainan City Government, Taiwan 

Project team: Mecanoo and MAYU Architects

Construction: Envision Engineering Consultants 

Installation advisor: Frontier Tech Institute of Engineering Design & Consultant

Wayfinding: Path & Landforms

Contractor: Fu Tsu Construction, Shing Tai Hydro-Power Engineering


Project Team Mecanoo

Design Principal: Francine Houben

Design Team: Rodrigo Louro, Friso van der Steen, Rodrigo Bandini, Johan Hanegraaf, Rachel Lin, Yuli Huang, Yuanyuan Chen, Natalia Leszcynska, George Orfanopoulos, Antonio Sanna, Wanjen Lin, Yunying Chiu, Tsailing Shih, Eliano Felicio, Nienke Andersson.


Project Team MAYU architects

Design Principal: Malone Chang, Yu-lin Chen

Design Team: (SD)Ting-yi Lo, Yun-shan Huang, Che-sheng Wang; (DD/CD)Ting-yi Lo, Che-sheng Wang, Chia-ru Lin, Beatrice Cordella, Meng-yue Ruan, Qi-ping Yang, Li-chi Yeh, Ya-zhi Guo, Che-kang liu; (CA)Yun-shan Huang, Chia-ru Lin, Ting-yi Lo, Ya-yun Wang, Wei-chieh Pan, Yun Chen, Ting-yi Li, Cheng-wei Li, Chih-hung Wang, Yung-hsien Fang, Jui-pao Chan, Tien-hsi Hsu, Ya-tieh Yu, Guan-wun Chen, Yu-lun Liang.

Top image © Yu-Chen Chao

All drawings © Mecanoo 

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