Tainan Public Library Now Open

John Hill
16. February 2021
Photo: Ethan Lee

The Tainan Public Library, designed by Dutch firm Mecanoo and Taiwan's MAYU architects, opened last month in Tainan City, in southern Taiwan.

Looking at photos of the recently inaugurated building, it's hard to argue with Mecanoo's assertion that "the most striking feature" of the library "is the inverted stepped shape." This profile creates a canopy for the outdoor spaces at the perimeter of the library, some of which are sunken and used for outdoor activities. Slender columns support the top floor of the library, which is wrapped in a distinctive screen recognizable from afar.

The Tainan Public Library has more than 40 branches, including this new main library. The building houses approximately 600,000 books, with around 16,000 of them from the period of Japanese occupation, plus a Braille library. Beyond the books, the library has an art gallery, a maker space, three multifunctional spaces for classrooms/workshops, a cafe, and, at the top of the building, a theatre and conference hall.

Some photos of the building follow, but visit Mecanoo's profile to see many more views of the Tainan Public Library.

The library opened to the public on January 2, 2021. (Photo: Ethan Lee)
Four sunken patios are situated below the building's stepped profile. (Photo: Ethan Lee)
An artwork by Paul Cocksedge is suspended in the atrium. (Photo: Ethan Lee)
The main stair is visible behind slatted wood walls, here looking toward the entrance. (Photo: Ethan Lee)
The red sculptural staircase ties together all floors of the library. (Photo: Ethan Lee)
The top floor of the library behind the vertical louvers. (Photo: Ethan Lee)
The pattern across the top-floor facade sreen is based on the image of an ancient map. (Photo: Ethan Lee)

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