Gwangju Main City Library

In recognition of the public realms in the vicinity, the proposal for City Main Library of Gwangju takes on soft circular forms to reinforce the natural organic landscape of the surrounding site. With a community-centric focus on bringing residents together, the proposal includes a continuity of the natural elements currently offered by surrounding public realms.

The proposal represented the unification of different people from different ideologies, ages, and walks of lives that come together as one united body. The exterior façade of the building is inspired by Korean Paper, Hanji, to create a lantern -like building that glows, representings Gwangju as the City of Light. 3m x 0.6m modular lightweight polycarbonate panels will clad all levels above ground, mimicking a floating glowing lantern above ground. At each floor where the panels meet the floor plates, the panels will be half polycarbonate, half operable with clear glass to allow for views and ventilations in the summer. These panels will be fixed onto a secondary steel frame that spans from floor to floor.

As part of a sustainable city strategy, cycling and pedestrian green routes are the part of green networks in the proposal. Pedestrian walkways and continuous cyclist routes create recreational, public health and well-being opportunities, as well as transportation linkages. It serves to connect cyclists and pedestrians to nature.

The landscape design addresses the stormwater quality that eventually flows into the Gwangju Stream, utilizing the Rainwater Garden strategy where water is purified naturally before being channeled to Gwangju stream.

As part of our expandability strategy, the cultural centre and the management area can be relocated to the existing incineration factory, to allow for an expansion of the library area. The new building will be connected to the old factory with a connecting bridge with a new translucent polycarbonate screen between the two. Casting a shadow in the daytime, the old factory can be observed as a silhouette on the new screen, evoking memories of its past.


  • Gwangju, South Korea


  • Competition


  • Architectural Design