Kaohsiung Main Public Library – Where Readers' Dreams Come True／閱讀夢想的知識殿堂 高雄市立圖書總館
Kaohsiung Main Public Library – Where Readers' Dreams Come True
◎English translation: Peng Hsin-yi
◎Photos courtesy of Pao Chung-hui
The impressive, eight story, public library is situated at the intersection of Linsen Road and Singuang Road. It is currently under construction with only an enormous steel frame and concrete walls to mark its location. This future reader's paradise is part of Asia's New Bay Area urban development series and is scheduled to open in November 2014. The library is also set to become a major landmark in the region and will be of the same caliber as the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center, located just a few blocks away.
Mr. Liu Pei-sen, the architect, envisions that the library will be welcoming for residents of all ages. He hopes it will resemble a living room, with a homey feel, for residents to read and exchange ideas. He considers that libraries should be places where knowledge is stored and passed down. Therefore, he is endeavoring to create an environment which will inspire residents to read a variety of materials as soon as they walk in the door.
Mr. Liu's design accentuates the city's character. The suspension structure maximizes the open space and utilizes Kaohsiung's abundant natural light. Instead of using solid concrete columns, Mr. Liu uses gigantic cylindrical structural cores. It is the first time this type of innovation has been used in architectural design. There are four different types of structural cores; each shaped and colored differently. Mr. Liu likens it to how different people have different faces, with different expressions. The columns in each of the four corners are secured by steel cables. The suspension structure blends into to the open space and is an enhanced safety feature due to their transparency and how they eliminate blind spots. The exterior column structures have been sculpted to reflect the texture of paper fiber. The structural columns also utilizes the space, doubling as elevator shafts, storage for the building's wiring, plumbing or HVAC.
Mr. Liu has observed the people of Kaohsiung often conduct social activities under big shady trees and therefore hopes his design will reflect the idea of a library located within the trees and trees within a library. Indeed, trees are an integral part of the library, with greenery which runs from rooftop to the ground, creating a shady area for people to read.
On the fifth floor, the center of the library becomes a spacious courtyard with a skylight, eight podocarpus nagi placed around the space and an ocean view visible through the trees. The library gets most of its sunlight from the west and south sides, with luscious green vines running down the walls. These natural elements help maintain a lower temperature and subsequently minimize the need to utilize air conditioner. Transom windows have also been installed to enhance the building's minimalist, environmental design, which further reduce energy consumption, especially from October to April when seasonal breezes blow through. Lights are also light-activated and automatically open when the sky darkens. The integral garden also serves as a heat barrier and the illuminated rooftop is powered by solar panels.
Mr. Liu stated that his favorite part of the design is the lobby with its seven meter ceilings and a large open and flexible space which will become a perfect place for residents to host a variety of activities. He has dedicated this architectural creation to residents of Kaohsiung and it becomes a place that will inspire residents to read more.
As an ever evolving city, Kaohsiung is developing a more sustainable future, where knowledge is its cornerstone. The new library certainly reflects this vision. From the design selection to the international bidding process and "Million New Books" donation campaign, Kaohsiung continues to make history.