Public library, open competition, Daegu (South Korea), 2012
Architects : École (Nicolas Simon and Max Turnheim) & Adrien Durrmeyer
Extended team : Ophélie Dozat, Hadrien Gauthier, Gerta Heqimi & Louis Latzarus
The proposed project for the Daegu Public Library consists of a massive cubic construction, in stark contrast with the surrounding cityscape. The singularity and unexpected nature of this landmark building is legible at once, without, however, bearing the trace of any logo, or distinctive sign of its function. It is its absence of obvious identity – its apparent neutrality and slickness – that consecrates it as a singular landmark. The library projects no further identity than its mass.
From the outside, the library stands out by its dimensions (34.5 m x 34.5 m x 34.5 m), its sharp edges, and the rupture it generates with its surrounding. The building’s cinder block façade is by-and-large blind, with the exception of the entrance. The façade reveals nothing of the building’s interior. It is the simplest expression of the space it contains.
The chosen material for this outer wall (cinder block) contributes to producing a sense of enclosure. The entrance door mediates the relationship between exterior and interior. Its off-set position further contributes to dissimulating the scenic attributes of the interior space, and the various modes of occupation that it enables. The resulting interior is self-contained, quiet, and virtually free of external influences.
A central square column emerges from the entrance level. The resulting continuity is underlined by the use of the same ceramic tiling. The column erects itself over the full height of the library. It lodges the staircases and elevator. The staircase allows a vertical circulation between four levels: 1st floor, 2nd floor, 3rd floor and roof terrace. It is a long ascending pathway to a venture point. It is both intimate and exposes the visitor to views of the building and its grandiose verticality.
While most of the building consists of open plans, two solid enclosures run through the first two levels. They are meant to lodge technical programme elements.
A 3-dimensional grid structure of 2,75m cubic frames runs through the building, generating interior spaces and supporting its own weight. The assembly of cubic frames makes up the skeleton of the stairway and two decks (the roof-terrace and the main flooring). The cubic frames are panelled with duckboard when they are mobilised as flooring or see-through partitioning elements. The cubic frames can be mobilised as anchoring points for a variety of light partitioning methods (curtains, etc.).
The building’s structure provides the necessary space for the allocation of the library programme. Most of this space is relatively open and flexible. The plans suggest an illustrative example of such occupation and space allocation for the main (non-technical) programme elements, which are deemed to evolve over time.