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A library that looks to the future by learning from tradition: Songdo Library, South Korea by Manuel Monteserin

Project name:
Songdo Library
Architecture firm:
Manuel Monteserin
Songdo, South Korea
Principal architect:
Manuel A. Monteserín
Design team:
Manuel A. Monteserín Lahoz, Lucía de Ancos, Virginia Herrera, Javier Simó, Ignacio A. Monteserín Lahoz, Aman Rai, María Mallo, Yeonghwa Choe
Show me The Project, Manu-Facturas
Built area:
9.000 m²
Site area:
Design year:
Completion year:
Interior design:
Civil engineer:
Structural engineer:
Environmental & MEP:
Show me The Project
Tools used:
Autodesk 3ds Max , V-ray, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Ilustrator
Cultural, Library, Public space

Manuel Monteserin: A library that looks to the future by learning from tradition. This project seeks to maintain a balance between the traditional use of a library and the new uses demanded by contemporary citizens. 

Three different and complementary spaces will coexist in this building: 

    1. A space for concentration, quiet reading and meditation. We call this area "Silent space"

    2. A space where you can study and learn together with other people. We will call this space "Collaborative workspace"

    3. A space to communicate, expose and share. A great cultural forum. We call this space "The Plaza"

Songdo Library, South Korea  by Manuel Monteserin

From the city, we will cross a garden that connects us to the Plaza. It is elevated above the street level in order to be independent from the traffic and to look out over the landscape. Cultural events, conferences and exhibitions are hosted in The Plaza. From here you can access different information spots and go up to the different areas of the library through the ramp. As we go up the ramp we are accompanied by thousands of reference books. They are arranged in a large shelves that goes up all over the space. This ramp and its library create the library's great central void. Facing south we find the silent area organized in four levels. These spaces are intended for activities that require more concentration and more tranquility. It is a closed and soundproof area.

parametric design exterior facade

It is a closed and soundproof area. It is built of wood and has an independent vertical circulation. The facade with its eyes allows reading, meditating or studying while looking at the landscape, the golf course and the sea on the horizon. This area represents the idea of sitting and reading on the windowsill, looking at the landscape and protected from the sun. The collaborative workspace will be located on three levels on the north side and will be used for activities that do not require absolute silence. On the second floor there will be a library for children. On the third floor there will be several tables to study and work in groups. On the fourth floor will be the classrooms. All levels are connected with a rest area equipped with a vending point where you can have a coffee and chat with your friends during breaks. 

contemporary public library

This library aims to integrate modernity with tradition. Inspired by traditional hanok construction, the access floor rises three meters above ground level and becomes independent from the ground. The open parking lot is located at ground level. Therefore, it allows natural ventilation and avoids the aggression to the ground that digging basements entails. A wooden structure and a ceramic tile roof enable a quick and clean construction. It also gives the building the ability to be disassembled and recycled if necessary in the future. The building also adapts to the different orientations. The south facade's deep eyes protects us from direct sunlight. On the other hand, the north facade will be closed with a curtain wall to ensure maximum light. To the west the building is protected from the sun with the placement of the toilets and vertical communication cores. In summer, the plaza curtain walls and skylights could be opened, allowing ventilation through the courtyard to reduce humidity and guarantee a better thermal sensation.  

honey bee hive shaped glass windows

public library and plaza interior

library lobby

the street view of the building at a rainy day

floor plan

exploded 3d section diagram

architecture section drawing

axonometric drawing

theory diagram

user experience

design diagram and presentation sheet

program diagram

architecture diagram

Connect with the Manuel Monteserin

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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