dutch architecture studio mecanoo has won a competition to design a public library for the taiwanese city of tainan. the 35,000 square meter scheme will feature reading rooms, special collections, study spaces, a children’s area, a café, a conference hall, a 200-seat auditorium, and public courtyards. the plan, which has been developed with local practice MAYU architects, also encompasses a possible future extension of 13,000 square meters.

all images courtesy of mecanoo



the project is defined by a use of natural materials, such as stone and wood, which adhere to rational structural lines. the building’s perimeter increases on each level, resulting in a large canopy that provides shade to the transparent stepped façade and below-grade courtyards. around the lower ground floor is an outdoor children’s play area. a floor-to-ceiling glazed wall creates a visual connection between this play area and the indoor children’s reading room. a sunken plaza on the same level forms a multifunctional outdoor space for hosting talks, exhibitions or social gatherings.

a large canopy provides shade to the transparent stepped façade



the structure’s wooden fenestration filters daylight, creating a rhythmic pattern of light on the stone floor, while dynamic stairwells show the flow of people moving through the building. throughout the design, generously proportioned open-plan spaces ensure that the library can be adapted to future needs. on the top floor, a second skin is wrapped around the building, filtering light and reducing solar heat gain. an ancient map of tainan is transposed onto a series of vertical louvers, designed to represent the city’s evolving relationship with its past, and the direction of its future. the €40 million project is expected to open at the end of 2018.

the 35,000 square meter scheme will feature a variety of reading rooms

a sunken plaza forms an outdoor space for hosting talks, exhibitions or social gatherings

the building includes a conference hall and a 200-seat auditorium

site plan showing the ground floor configuration



project info:


architects: mecanoo
local partner: MAYU architect+
client: cultural affairs bureau, tainan city government, taiwan
design: 2016
realization: 2017-2018