top of page

Meandering Biblioscape

Proposal for an international competition for a public library in Songdo with E-scape Architects, Jaekyeong Moon, Gwanghyeon Park, Jihun Kim
It started with two questions. What will be the library in between the city and nature? How will the library change in the future?
Software Used
SketchUp 2021, Vray 5, Photoshop CC 2021
Meandering Biblioscape

The site lies in the middle of the city and nature. We propose a landscape that corresponds to nature's topography and the city context. Sloped green roof surface welcomes in surrounding terrain and urban glass facades correspond to urban contexts. The various sunken courtyards are responsible for lighting and ventilation, and these courtyards also act as the entrance to the building. The angle of the slope which was carefully set considering the sun’s path and it’s view to the surrounding area, also provides promenades, outdoor theater, exhibitions, and rest areas.


What will be a new library that accumulates and spreads knowledge and information as the times change? It is predicted that books will be replaced by several media such as videos, DVDs, computers, and the internet. Traditional functions of a library previously dedicated to reading will be mixed with cafes, rest areas, and educational spaces. Despite and because of these changes, we think the symbolism of books in the library will be even more important. We propose a social library that combines the public nature of knowledge information with culture and art, while preserving symbolic meaning of books.


In most libraries, books are placed on bookshelves in empty spaces. In order to emphasize the aura that the book emits, we thought that the bookshelf should become a building, not just a furniture. We propose a library where the bookshelf becomes the structure that forms the building creating various spaces that are lodged in-between. A walkway runs on the top of this meandering bookshelf, and this walkway extends all the way from the storage to the observatory.


The meandering bookshelf divides the interior space into two. The two parts have a 1.5 m difference in level, creating a landscape inside the building with a skipping floor. The two levels are divided into “admin space” and “user space”, and at the same time are organically linked as well. Spaces with various characteristics are spread along the meandering bookshelf, and you can go out to the outer slope through the courtyard that the bookshelf creates. We hope that the library we propose will be a landscape that the books and people create.

Rhizome: Layout and Movement
The site is located between an apartment complex, a golf club, and a kindergarten. We propose a sloped plane to mediate the situation between nature and the city. First, we came up with a massing that complies with the building coverage ratio and is capable of including all the programs that are required. Then, we rotated the mass until the edges reached the boundary of the site. This resulted in the building tilting 10 degrees clockwise, creating four triangular spaces between the site boundary and the building. This maximized the efficiency of the underground space and made the building more accessible at the same time. Each triangle serves a different purpose. The North Triangle is used as a parking entrance, the East Triangle as the main entrance, the West Triangle as the starting point of the storage's core and promenade, and the South Triangle as an outer space connected to the buffer green area. The grid made by the bookshelf and interior space is turned counterclockwise by 5 degrees, so that the sunlight can come deeper into the building. The sloped roof carved into the earth making use of the basement levels avoiding the restrictions set by the building coverage ratio. Programs for reading and resting which require ample natural light are placed above ground while programs that are less influenced by these conditions are placed on the basement levels.
The main entrance to the building is located on the side of the main road. However, this building has many other entrances. You can enter the building by following the stairs in the eastern part of the building. Additional entrances are located on the points where the courtyard meets the sloped plane. The cores meet the legal requirements, but is not designed to act as the main vertical transport. Instead, various ramps and stairs that are spread out throughout the building carries out this function. Finally, it is possible to enter the storage building from the outdoor stage at the southern end of the sloped plane. You can climb directly onto the sloped plane from the kindergarten side and from the buffer green area. Thus, the building's exterior circulation has multiple entrances and exits, like the rhizome structure, and are intertwined like a network.
Stationary Deployment Diagram
The total length of the bookshelf is 800 meters if unfolded. It is designed to make the visitors feel as if they were walking along a park promenade. which in average should take about 12 minutes from start to finish. It is more difficult for conventional bookshelves to respond to increasing amount of books in various fields of humanities, society, and nature over time. The continuous bookshelf we proposed is flexible and easily adapts to the volume changes. The continuous bookshelf has several punctures that allows for visual exchanges and circulation. Cascade-style stairs, classrooms, and stairwells are also located next to these bookshelves.
Derivation of Forms

1. Place a mass that can accommodate the given program’s spacial requirements.

2. Lower the South and raise the North to create a slope that connects the city and nature. It is tilted to the south, which is advantageous for letting in natural light and responds to surrounding situations.

3. Place a meandering bookshelf, which makes up the structure of the entire building and a walkway along the sloped plane. This walkway connects the observatory on the highest point and the storage area on the lowest point.

4. Place various courtyards that links the interior spaces with the sloped plane. These courtyards also makes the building compliant to the building coverage ratio limit.

5. Each courtyard has a staircase and a ramp leading to and from the interior spaces. Part of the plane that is below the ground level is designed as a stair. It is also used as an outdoor theater where people can watch various performances.

Structural System

6. The structural column grid is basically spaced 10m apart. The underground parking system was designed in accordance with this grid.

7. Because the meandering bookshelf is responsible for the structure of the entire building, columns that overlap are deleted. The shape of the bookshelf is designed to include as much columns as possible in it’s path.

8. Columns are placed on the part where the bookshelf does not touch. The upper part of the bookshelf is used as a walkway on the sloped plane.

Layout of Floors and Cores

9. The floors of the 3-meter-high are stacked, and are divided into two parts by the meandering bookshelf that curves through them.

10. Left and the right side of the bookshelf has a height difference of 1500, and the left side is dedicated to office space for the administrators, and the right side is dedicated to the public.

11. These two parts are connected by ramps and stairs. In addition, each part has its own dedicated core which also function as a emergency staircase. At the highest point, there is a symbolic glass core with spiral staircase and an elevator that takes people to the observatory.

12. The reading areas, office, and storage areas are all placed along the meandering bookshelf. Between them are different cores and courtyards.

Plateau: Sloped Green Plane
The sloped green plane meets the earth at two points. You can climb up to the sloped plane from the kindergarten side on the west side and the buffer green side on the east side. The walkway on the sloped plane, which corresponds to the bookshelf, opens up to different views on every turn. Walking along the promenade, people arrive at various courtyards. The promenade runs from the storage space to the observatory. The lowest point of the sloped plane can be used as an outdoor stage and is connected to the storage. There are stairs on the lower part of the slope, so it can be used as a theater or a place to rest. Higher up, the slope becomes a grass field where people can sit or lie down, resting and enjoying the view. Top of the slope, there is a glass observatory.