013 Daegu Gosan Public Library, Daegu

Fifteen Variations on a Single Theme

The library’s place in society and in culture has changed significantly in the last years. It is no longer dedicated to the book, or to the mere act of acquiring knowledge, of learning. Knowledge, nowadays, is accessible everywhere. How should the library adapt to its new situation?
The library has to become a place where all forms of media are presented equally; it has to reclaim its public place – both physically, in the city, the urban context, and as a part of society. It has to become a place where knowledge becomes accessible for all, one that encourages creativity, creates an infrastructure for education in a knowledge based society. It has to become a place of exchanging knowledge, rather than a place of acquiring knowledge.

The site is situated in a pivot point between three different urban conditions: the park and greenery in the north, the residential neighborhood in the west and commercial area in the east. Rather than an introverted building, we propose to create a building that becomes a focal point in the city, one that is effortlessly integrated in its surroundings while creating a new relationship with each one of the different urban typologies.


The library is conceived from one continuous geometrical shape. It is formed like a kind of spiral, or a line of topography that generates a continuous cycle of spaces and a diverse array of experiences, situations and conditions. It is a X that becomes a heptagon that becomes a hexagon that becomes a pentagon that becomes a square. Each level is conceived as an intersection between one form and its successor, thus a chain of intricate, sophisticated indoor and outdoor spaces are created. Each level contains one programmatic element while at the same time keeping a connection to each of the others. A series of grand stairs connect all of them and become social and communication areas themselves. It is a hybrid library – allowing concentration and quiet work on one hand and encouraging communication and networking on the other.


Each joint edge of the form becomes a large opening that frames the different views, strengthening the building’s connection to its context and creating a connection of the different programs in the library one to the other. They also introduce day light and ventilation into the building. Sustainability, thus, is perceived as an integral part of the design process – the use on natural light and ventilation reduces dramatically use of artificial lighting and air condition and energy consumption.


The library opens to the street, making knowledge appealing for the public and the city. Program, circulation, space, sustainability, materiality, form – all become a part of one holistic approach. They form a library that integrates in the city but has a distinct identity – it is iconic yet modest, impressive but not grandiose. The library turns into a place of exchanging knowledge, a social space, accessible, a public living room connecting knowledge and people – from young to old

Daegu, S. Korea
3,100 m2 including: Library: Reading rooms, Children space, conference, offices, parking
International Competition
Nahalal Serok
Date: March 15, 2013