URBAN FOREST and READING UNDER THE TREES
Land of Morning Calm. Korea is a place of great natural beauty, with stunning mountains, clear waters and serene countryside. Its tranquil scenery is evident when one visits Haeinsa, one of the most famous temples in Korea and a Unesco World Heritage site containing the Tripitaka Koreana, a collection of 80,000 engraved wooden blocks containing the most complete set of Buddhist texts in Asia. Haeinsa is a complex made of wood, with a library containing wood, a national treasure, an interplay of building and landscape carved out of a forest. In contrast, the site for the Seoul Metropolitan Dong-Daemun library is embedded in concrete buildings and a noisy and stressed environment.
We are inspired by Haeinsa, its beautiful architecture of wood, integration with nature and ingenious preservation methods and endeavor to bring such quality to this project, combining the lessons learned from traditional vernacular architecture with modern technology for a world class building that is of low operational carbon and negative embodied carbon, using renewable energy and the only renewable building material, wood. By emulating what nature does, with its trees and forests, we aim to create an urban oasis, an urban forest for reading under the trees.
Design for Social Sustainability. A library for today’s society is more than a place for books. It is the living room for the city, a community center, a museum and hub of digital technology and information. While all state-of-art technologies such as digital displays, mobile apps, AR and VR integrated exhibits and automated book storage systems will be used, there is still a tremendous value to bring a book to a great room for the people, one that is infused with controlled daylight. Mass Timber will add tremendous value given its biophilic qualities and the library made from it will be the city’s gift to its people; an exceptional place, imbued with lightness, with visually pleasing pattern, grain and texture, warmth to touch and with a natural fresh pine scent. It will actively engage its users and help modulate humidity as it absorbs moisture when humid and releases moisture when dry.
Progress of South Korea over the past thirty years has been phenomenal, built on the backs of its citizens, but at a cost with high mental and physical toll in a stressful environment. It is therefore necessary for the city of Seoul to provide an oasis for its people, and what better place than the public library that is “Free to All” inspired by the best of its past and infused with its world leading digital technologies.