An architecture studio based in Seville has won the prize to build the Jinju Library, in South Korea, a building that is immersed in the nearby nature.
South Korea is not that far away. Neither Covid-19, nor the language barrier, nor the kilometers away, nor cultural differences can stop the will to apply the knowledge developed to improve people’s lives. And it is that, architecture is just that, a tool to improve the lives of citizens. An effective discipline like few others, inclusive and with its own international language. This idea was well understood by the architects of the Sol89 studio, María González and Juanjo López de la Cruz, who submitted a proposal to the international competition for the design of the Jinju Public Library, in southern South Korea. Of course, they won the contest, achieving first place among 50 projects submitted from 9 different nationalities.
A library in South Korea of Spanish design
The contest set a series of conditions to carry out the design. The most important, that the final amount of the construction was 10.67 million euros, about 14.6 billion won, the currency of Korea. And I say that it is the most important because, obviously, this is a sine qua non condition to carry out any project. And the other condition, very topical, was to execute a green building with zero energy consumption. Of course, the main prize is the construction of the library, so the Sol89 studio architects are already packing their bags.
As we have already seen, this type of international project requires support in the country of origin, which is why Sol89 enlisted the help of the Woodrock Architects studio and the architect Jongjin Lee. Together they visualized a building that stands out among the typical residential towers of the expansion areas of South Korean cities, some buildings, for my taste, a bit bland and that were not a reference for the library’s designers.
The place blends in with nature and the environment
The library will have 6,000 square meters of built area, and will fit into a fragment of a large city park. In fact, the building blends in with the park, something that delighted the jury, and that will surely fascinate its users. And it is that the building perches on the hillside, configuring its different areas as it goes up, and differentiating the different spaces in a unique way.
The designers, aware of the condition of link between two realities of the future library, on the one hand, the green areas, and on the other, the urban land with a high population density, have given the building a mediating function, giving it the responsibility to act as a transit device between the city and the park. To do this, they have designed a path that begins at the entrance to the park, and crosses the library longitudinally by means of a gentle ramp.
The green roof, its most important detail
Using the steep topography of the land as support, the architects distribute the floor plan of the building in a staggered manner. It is made up of three different platforms that communicate vertically, and that are protected by a green cover, a delight for nature lovers. This cover also serves as a perfect thermal insulator, and allows patios and skylights, which contribute to thermal regulation and interior lighting.
«A library today transcends the traditional use of a container for books whose access is limited and temporary,» the designers say in their description of the building. The diversity of uses encourages these buildings to require the latest in new technologies, knowing how to adapt to the youngest and most veteran users. For this reason, the complex provides spaces other than the main use of the library: reading patios, stepped media library, garden terrace next to the cafeteria, audiovisual projection room, amphitheater on the roof, and more.
A sustainable and oriental-inspired building
The building is configured to be executed with reinforced concrete at its base, with extensions of it in the form of pillars, which will support a roof made of lighter materials. According to María González, for the development of the project the influence of some Korean temples, implanted through platforms, as well as some architectural elements of oriental origin used by Jorn Utzon, the creator of the Sydney Opera House, has been important.
If everything goes as it should go, the works will start in mid-2022, all prior to the development of the project. With a little luck, the next time you visit the south of South Korea, you will be able to enjoy a library with a Sevillian design.