Tainan is a city born from a history of diverse cultures, peoples and traditions. The urban fabric holds memories from the 17th century European maritime trading, the Qing Dynasty Ruling, and the Japanese settlement of the early 1900s.
On top of its rich history, modern Tainan is developing as a central city in the knowledge-based economy. The new library is a built expression of the social, cultural and traditional facets that have amalgamated to form the city of Tainan.
Mecanoo and MAYU’s design for the Tainan Public Library represents the meeting of cultures, generations and histories. Rational yet elegant structural lines and a sensitive use of light and shadow characterise the building’s timeless design. Reaching up into the sky, the building’s perimeter increases on each level.
The result is a large canopy that provides shade to the transparent stepped facade and below-grade courtyards. Around the perimeter of the Lower Ground Floor is an outdoor children’s play area. A floor-to-ceiling glazed wall creates a visual connection between the play area and indoor children’s reading room.
A sunken plaza on the same level is a multifunctional outdoor space for hosting talks, exhibitions or social gatherings. With a café adjacent, it is designed as a social destination for curious minds, creating a peaceful space for reading, group work, or socialising.
Adaptable to future needs
The entrance lobby rises three levels up to show the library’s internal configuration and the layering of floors. The generous open-plan spaces ensure the library can be adapted to future needs.
On the top floor, a delicate second skin is wrapped around the building, filtering the light and reducing solar heat gain. A pattern of typical Tainan window frames is transposed onto vertical louvres and represents the city’s evolving relationship with its past. Source by Mecanoo.
- Location: Tainan, Taiwan
- Architect: Mecanoo
- Local partner: MAYU Architects
- Structural engineer: Kaohsiung
- Area: 37.000 m2
- Year: 2017
- Images: Courtesy of Mecanoo
Article by Marco Rinaldi