Gwangju City Library

Civic · Gwangju, KR



118,000 SF


We envision libraries as culture generators and public cornerstones of civilization. The architecture of a library, in addition to providing a public service by addressing its program requirements, should also be a source of inspiration and awe. The Main Library at Gwangju has been conceived as both, an efficient machine for learning and as a temple in which to celebrate culture and intellectual pursuits. The library will be an inspirational cauldron where knowledge is obtained, preserved, and shared.

The building is placed along the south border of the site acting as a programmatic backdrop to the rest of the Master Plan amenities. The site plan arrangement and the four story building form factor, allow for a large open space to be developed immediately north of the building creating a park resource between the old factory and the new library. The four story library, which is 26 meters wide by 142 meters long, is organized into two distinct overall zones, one public and one private. The public zone of the building is comprised of the core library programs and is located at the west end of the longitudinal arrangement. The private zone, containing the library archive, restricted personnel areas and associated functions, is located at the east of the plan. The specific location of the book depository enables the potential expansion of future reading rooms into the existing factory nearby onsite.

The library is accessed through a magnificent four story space which constitutes the heart of the project attempting to capture, through
the use of scale, light and symbolic meaning, the significance of the building as a generator of culture. A large floating concrete
dome which levitates over the space emphasizes the ethereal and transcendent nature of the space.

The main reading room is located east of the main entry and it is accessed through two large glass elevators. The library is acoustically sealed
from the entry through two large concrete walls which isolate the library space. Visual continuity is achieved through the large oculi which
connect the library to the entrance space and the cafeteria spaces beyond.

Project Team

  • Luis Collado
  • Toni Cañellas
  • Jose Luis de la Fuente
  • Ignacio Espigares
  • Brian Koehler
  • Gonzalo Rojas