The National Taipei University Library which is located in the Sanxia district of new Taipei city was opened to the public in 2014. Designed by Liao Architects & Associates, the TU Library breaks away from the stiff concrete structures that characterise the typology. Their concept offers a much more open and fluid space that drives knowledge gain and exchange creating more intimate interactions between the various elements that make up the space, from the people to the books, the media systems, the architecture and of course, the environment. The idea changes the notion of how a library should be designed and caters to a richer experience than most would be accustomed to.
The design is organized into 3 blocks each with dedicated entrances as opposed to the norm of a single entrance. A lake sits to the rear of the site, thus the designers sought to somehow connect the building to this natural feature. They created a floating bridge on the first floor that serves as a direct link to the lake and also connects the 3 blocks in a seamless manner. Also, the main entrance and core of the building were designed to be similar to an urban street or promenade in shopping mall, including diverse yet vital spaces like galleries, bookshops, a student center and cafe. This central spine of sorts, creates a relaxed and welcoming ambience that permeates the length of the library encouraging both social and scholarly activities.
The dencetralised nature of the Library also adds to the function and how it responds to the site. It aids airflow with in turn promotes cross ventilation and also allows daylight reach right into the core of the building.
For the outside, the architect draws on a simple yet central theme of a book (a common denominator with any library) to create a stunning facade of gentle curves that compliments the rectilinear nature of the main structure. The curves are a nod to the action of people taking books out of a shelf and opening them into their gentle curves. The facade doesn’t just look good, it also allows a great deal of daylight into the library spaces creating a bright almost outdoor atmosphere there in. Similarly, simpler vertical fins adorn the eastern and western faces of the building helping to reduce solar gain within the building. The roof structure also nods to the traditional Taiwanese style with what appears to be a gentle curve, that is reminiscent of the many ancient temples and building in the region.
The Taipei University Library is truly unique in the experience it offers, which transcends research and reading but delves into a more social and interactive one that helps people interact with one another as well as with the environment.