Tainan Public Library

Mecanoo and MAYU’s design for the Tainan Public Library represents the meeting of cultures, generations and histories. Rational yet elegant structural lines and a sensitive use of light characterise the building’s timeless design.

Reaching up into the sky, the building’s perimeter increases on each level. The result is a large canopy that provides shade to the transparent stepped facade and below-grade courtyards. Around the perimeter of the Lower Ground Floor is an outdoor children’s play area. A floor-to-ceiling glazed wall creates a visual connection between the play area and indoor children’s reading room.

A sunken plaza on the same level is a multifunctional outdoor space for hosting talks, exhibitions or social gatherings. The entrance lobby rises three levels to show the library’s internal configuration and the layering of floors. The generous open-plan spaces ensure the library can adapt to future needs.

On the top floor, a delicate second skin is wrapped around the building, filtering the light and reducing solar heat gain. A pattern of typical Tainan window frames is transposed onto vertical louvres and represents the city’s evolving relationship with its past. The new library is a built expression of the social, cultural and traditional facets that have amalgamated to form the city of Tainan.