New designs for the planned Tainan Public Library in Taiwan show a top-heavy tiered building with its uppermost floor wrapped in a decorative second skin. The stepped configuration of the building increases its perimeter at each level, creating a canopy, while the additional skin helps to regulate internal temperature.
Designed by Mecanoo, which has previously designed similar venues like the Library of Birmingham and Home arts center, in partnership with MAYU architects+, the Public Library will replace the existing Tainan Municipal Library, which cannot adequately serve the newly-merged populations of Tainan County and Tainan City. Located on the old site of the Yongkang Artillery School, the new facility will cover 35,000 sq m (377,000), with the potential for an additional 13,000-sq m (139,930-sq ft) extension in the future.
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The library will house reading rooms, special collections, study spaces, a café, a conference hall and a 200-seat auditorium. A children's play area will run around the outside of the building's perimeter on the lower ground floor, with floor-to-ceiling windows providing a connection to the children's reading room inside.
The building's atrium will span three stories, creating a big open space from which visitors will be able to see the internal configuration and the layering of floors. It will be possible to see the flow of people through the building as well, by way of what Mecanoo calls "curvaceous stairwells."
Outside, there will be public courtyards and a sunken plaza on the lower ground floor that will provide a multifunctional space for hosting talks, exhibitions, social gatherings and other events. In addition to providing a covered outdoor space for visitors, the overhang of the building will provide shade for the glazed walls below, helping to minimize solar gain.
Without an additional story above it, the uppermost floor employs a façade as a means of providing shade. Comprising vertical louvers, this skin has a map of ancient Tainan imprinted into it, providing a visual link between the city's past and its future. The building is finished in natural materials, like stone and wood that help to soften its appearance.
The Tainan Public Library is expected to open in 2018. The video below provides a look at the designs.