design 202 | SPRING 2013

The urban library deploys an alternative programmatic organization through spatial flexibility that mediates between the archived material, the users, and its context.

3. library

Living in a world of information technology, in which the collection and distribution of knowledge is expanding at rate like never before, challenges the library typology and its role as archive and source.

Do libraries presently exist as an anachronism? Or is there function now augmented by the ease of availability of data and collective information?

It's shifting as a space of collection to a space of connection, an important space for potential interactions to accelerate and manage this. Taking these questions and present day conditions, along with the site and its influences and flows, the proposal separates the reading and archive or storage sections into two distinct strands. The formal response to the hectic site of Chinatown is an elevated garden with the main volume above creating a covered plaza space. 

The programmatic organization of the library unites the two main spaces (reading / storing) in specific instances labeled as switches. Apart from the switch, these spaces remain completely isolated while moving in the same direction on different horizontal layers. This creates a double helix structure around the primary service core. The facade is composed ofpanels of varying materials that overlap and create different light conditions for the interior spaces.


2. grand st / chrystie st

Located on the corner of Chrystie St and Grand St, the site is a 7500 sq. ft lot featuring an infill condition in a busy commercial context in the heart of Chinatown. Adjacent to the site run a series of parks with sports fields, cultural spaces, and planted gardens. The corner condition provides the opportunity for a double facade facing two distinct conditions, the built and the contained nature in the city. The parks are higher than the street level and enclosed by greenery giving them a sense of isolation and respite from the congested Chinatown surroundings.


1. spatial modularity 

The study carrel typology accommodates a series of functions across scales:

 1. Sitting and Studying
2. Storing and Displaying
3. Assembling and Isolating

The archive of the library as a modulator operates in relation to the body, architecture, and the city. Exploring these different scales through a series of tectonic relationships in the study carrel typology created a continuous surface model that folds and inserts itself to create a topography of uses. 


0. precedent study

The Impermanent by Paolo Carraro is a 20cm x 20cm book  bound in a traditional Japanese style consisting of the four equal parts of a square running through its center. These parts are manipulated via rotation, cut-outs, folds, and color each being revealed from one page to the next. 

Another version of the same book comes in a box format consisting of black and white squares that can be rearranged in the box for an endless combination of reveals.

The analysis of this book as a precedent yielded an interpretation of the fundamentals of visual perception and systems of order that inform 2D and 3D design. These concepts of vision and order were then transformed into a spatial construct that consisted of folding, rotating, and enclosing shapes seen in plan and section.