Seoul City Public Library


Seoul, Korea
[Competition Entry]

seodaemun library design competition (14)
The site for the Seoul City Public Library in Seodaemun is positioned amid a residential area, characterized by surrounding apartment buildings. This urban setting provides a central location for a public library, aiming to serve as a cultural hub for the community. The library’s design and location are likely to offer a convenient and accessible place for learning and community activities, fostering interaction within the densely populated neighborhood of Seodaemun.

The aerial rendering showcases the proposed library nestled within Seodaemun’s urban landscape, characterized by a lush park surrounded by towering apartment blocks. The design features a contemporary structure with a flowing, dynamic form that opens towards the green space, blurring the boundaries between the building and its natural surroundings. The library is poised as a centerpiece of this community space, aiming to offer a seamless integration of knowledge, culture, and recreation within the dense cityscape.

The site plan reveals the library’s strategic placement within a verdant park, surrounded by a network of pathways that invite the community into this knowledge hub. The building’s orientation and curvilinear shape are designed to complement the site’s existing greenery and pathways, creating a fluid transition between the built and natural environments. With its proximity to the main thoroughfare and integration with the park’s landscape, the library is poised to be an accessible and prominent cultural destination in Seodaemun.

The building’s design, as seen in this rendering, continues the narrative of the site’s bird’s eye view, presenting a harmonious integration into the green heart of Seodaemun. With its organic form and sweeping canopy, it dialogues with the nearby apartment blocks, offering a striking yet fitting addition to the neighborhood. The library’s transparent walls and flowing lines promise a welcoming space that extends the park’s openness, fostering an inclusive environment for community learning and cultural exchange.

The diagrams illustrate the architectural concepts for a new development. The first diagram emphasizes connectivity within the public space, contrasting a seamless ‘Continuous commons’ against a ‘Disconnected commons’ and proposing an ‘Integrated commons’ as the ideal solution. The second set of diagrams conceptualizes the flow of human interaction across the site, from isolated, rigid interactions to a more fluid, inclusive communal engagement. The third diagram details the environmental considerations, showing the building’s orientation to maximize natural lighting and heat gain. The final diagram depicts the urban strategy, merging ‘urban living room’ and ‘urban terrace’ concepts with the park, creating multifunctional spaces that cater to diverse social needs and events. These diagrams collectively present a vision for a library that’s not just a repository of books but a living, breathing part of the urban ecosystem.

This section diagram is a clear representation of the building’s environmental engagement strategy. Oriented to maximize solar gain, it uses a combination of passive and active systems to ensure energy efficiency and indoor comfort. The roof design promotes natural ventilation, drawing in cool air at the lower levels and releasing warm air at the top, reducing the need for mechanical cooling. The strategic placement and size of the glazing optimize daylight, minimizing artificial lighting during the day and creating a connection with the outdoors.

B2 Plan

B1 Plan


Ground Floor Plan


2nd Floor Plan


3rd Floor Plan

Axonometric Diagram

The axonometric diagram showcases the library’s structural composition, highlighting the innovative use of materials and space. At the top, we have a landscaped and translucent roof surface that not only provides natural insulation but also allows for light penetration. The main structural framework consists of an open wood shell structure, featuring a triangulated and necklace-like design for both aesthetic appeal and structural integrity. Below, the wood CLT floors supported by wood columns provide a sustainable approach to construction. The foundation is a solid concrete basement with vertical cores, ensuring the building’s stability and resilience. This combination of materials and design speaks to a modern, sustainable approach to architecture.

The library’s sectional profile, emphasizing the fluidity between the internal spaces and the external environment. The sweeping wooden roof structure creates a rhythmic architectural language that not only gives the building its character but also supports the environmental strategy for natural light and ventilation. The transparency of the facade allows for an unobstructed visual dialogue with the surroundings, while the tiered levels inside provide varied spatial experiences, from intimate reading nooks to expansive communal areas, illustrating a library that is both a beacon of knowledge and a comfortable space for community gathering.

The library’s outdoor terrace, a harmonious space that extends the indoor experience into the natural surroundings. Sheltered by an elegant wooden canopy and enclosed with a transparent facade, it affords visitors panoramic views of the park. This terrace is a testament to the design’s integration with the environment, offering users a tranquil setting to enjoy literature and leisure in the heart of the city.

The Sheltered outdoor terrace of the library, a transitional space that captures the essence of an interior yet remains open to the elements. The roof above, punctuated with openings, allows sunlight to dapple through, creating a dynamic pattern of light and shadow. This terrace exemplifies the library’s design ethos, blurring the boundaries between the inside and the outside, offering a space where users can enjoy the warmth of the sun and the view of the sky while still feeling connected to the library’s interior environment.

The interplay between the library’s structural wood elements and the transparent facade that encases the space. The wooden beams arc overhead, contributing to the open, airy atmosphere, while the glass walls provide clear sightlines to the outside, inviting the park’s presence into the interior. The design effectively creates a luminous, sheltered corridor that resonates with the fluidity of modern architecture, embracing transparency and natural materials to enhance the user experience within a public space.

The atrium, where the interior design fosters a bright and inviting atmosphere. The elongated wooden slats across the ceiling guide the eye, while the suspended linear light fixtures complement the natural daylight streaming through the full-height glazing. The open-plan layout facilitates a fluid movement, encouraging exploration and interaction within the space. The atrium, with its visual and spatial continuity, serves as the pulsing heart of the library, designed to be both functional and inspiring.

A series of skylights in the roof bathe the interior with natural light, enhancing the warm ambiance created by the wooden finishes. The space is designed for flexibility, accommodating individual contemplation as well as collaborative engagement. The strategic layering of the floors allows for an interconnection between different levels of the library, inviting visitors to explore the breadth of knowledge housed within. This central zone, under the banner ‘Future Libraries’, signifies the evolving nature of library spaces as centers of community and innovation.

The library situated within a lush, landscaped setting. The building’s architecture, with its sweeping roof and expansive glazing, provides an inviting connection to the park. The design thoughtfully positions the library as an integral part of the community’s green space, encouraging interaction and accessibility, and symbolizing the blend of knowledge and nature.


Architect: SsD


Jinhee Park, Principal, Columbia University Adjunct Professor 



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