Name of the Library: Kaohsiung Main Public Library
Parent Organisation: Bureau of Cultural Affairs, Kaohsiung City Government
Street Address: No.61, Singuang Rd., Cianjhen Dist., Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
Postal Address: 80661
Telephone : +886-7-5360238
Web Address: http://www.ksml.edu.tw/mainlibrary/index.aspx
Type of Library : Central/ Main Library
Population served: 2,777,948
Project Type: New Building
Size (square metres): 37,233
Date of Completion: 13/11/2014
Architect: Ricky Liu and the Japanese architect Toyo Ito’s team
As a gift to the citizens of Kaohsiung city, the Kaohsiung Main Public Library’s permanent commitment is to not only provide citizens with rich collection and a multifunctional facility for reading, learning and recreation but also connect citizens to the community and world and cultivate citizens with vision.
Since the establishment of the library in 1916, it has been renamed three times and relocated 6 times. In 2009, for the old main public library building came to be inadequate and obsolete, the plan for a new main public library building was drawn up. After five years of evaluation, arrangement and execution, a new main public library became a reality in 2014. Meanwhile, it’s also a cultural landscape and city landmark, showing and displaying creativity, energy and sustainability.
The construction of the new library is based on the result of an international design competition. The winning design is from the collaboration between Ricky Liu and the Japanese architect Toyo Ito’s team. The architectural techniques applied in the new library building are unique for the use of suspended steel rods contributing to lightweight construction as well as glass curtain walls, making it the most spatially penetrable library in the world.
The design concept of the new main library comes from large trees. Being inspired by the shade of a tree in which people can sit, the architects make the first floor a 7.5 meter in height column-less space where citizens can read books, take a rest or exercise. Citizens can also enjoy a cup of coffee and a light meal on the first to third floor. Furthermore, the green energy and environmental protection concept is embodied in every floor of this building, such as the five-meter-deep green terraces on the southwest sides of the third to eighth floors offering citizens a wonderful green space for reading and a cool place to hide from the burning rays in summer. From the sixth to eighth floor, there is a “Tree Chamber” planted in the zone surrounded by the skylights, enabling patrons on the floors to see trees while reading. In addition, on the top of the building, a huge New Bay Garden provides a beautiful view towards the Harbor Kaohsiung, the largest harbor in Taiwan. The new main library is indeed a green structure in which “the library and the trees come together as one.”
In order to create the spatial penetration of the ground floor and achieve the column-less structure of the first floor, box steel columns, tubular columns, buckling restrained braces (BRB) and other structural components are used as support columns. These support columns are integrated with the eighth floor truss level to comprise a three-dimensional “large-scale frame”, thus forming the principal structural system of the library’s construction. The building possesses four elevators and two escalators with modern design, which adopts the “suspension method” and utilizes steel tension of the most economical design principles. Suspended steel rods of 6 to 12 centimeters in diameter were adopted in place of traditional structural column sections (90 centimeters X 90 centimeters for a vertical structural column section). This downward construction method is completely different from the upward one of common architectural structures. The suspension method employed in the structure of the library makes the columns of the ground floor gone like magic and endows the interior space with the visual permeability as well.
In addition to the building, another distinctive feature of the new main library is that the accomplishment of the library stands on the cooperation between the Kaohsiung City Government and citizens. For the structure, the construction and NT$1.9 billion funding are covered by the Kaohsiung City Government. For the collection, the Kaohsiung City Cultural Foundation particularly initiated a donation plan called “One Million Books by Donation; Love and Wisdom Passed on for Generations” for making the new main library, the first municipal library built by the city in the last twenty years in Taiwan, house a collection of one million books. Through the project, the donations from various walks of life reached NT$500 million, actually having been increasing, and the goal of one-million-book collection was achieved. To express the library’s appreciation of the donors, the flyleaves of books are with sponsors’ names on them and some floors are named after the entrepreneurs desiring to make contribution to the society. The most significant meaning of the donation manifested through the completion of the library is that no matter whom you are, a rich industrialist, an ordinary salaryman, or a vendor, you have the power to make the city and world different and better. With the constant support and passion of the citizens, which are deeply appreciated, the library will grow steadily and everlastingly with the knowledge and power shown in itself.
In the collection and among the bookshelves, one of the distinguishing characteristics of the new main public library－“Key Publication Showcase” displayed elegantly. The key publication showcases, located on the fourth to seventh floors, exhibit more than five hundred classic books from different eras and fields which are all carefully and rigidly selected. These books are collected from various publishers, used bookstores and the data preservation center of National Central Library. They are also obtained from the ancient relic collectors as well as the community. As time goes by, these monographs become much rarer and more precious. Through the exhibition, people can take a look at the key publications, appreciate these crucial classics in publishing history, and understand the meaning and influence of knowledge to human beings. Each book of key publications tells a timeless story, which brings library patrons to the magnificent worlds of different times.
- First place of “2015 The 10 Libraries You Must Visit in Taiwan” list selected via online voting conducted by the Library Association of the Republic of China (Taiwan) (2015)
- Gold Award in the 1st Gold Medal Award for Quality in Kaohsiung City New Architectural Construction (2014)
- First prize in the planning and design category of the 20th Chinese Golden Stone Award for Architecture (2012)