Biodiversity Hill

Daegu, South Korea | 3,080 m2
Metropolitan City Library
International competition

Project Information

The new Daegu Metropolitan City Library will create a cultural and urban symbol where visitors can meet and ideas can be exchanged and circulated. The transformative landscape will draw visitors into a unique topography that redefines the urban landscape as an inspirational haven for biodiversity, culture, knowledge and creativity.

The inspiration for the project comes from the literal meaning of Daegu ‘large hill’.
The reconfigured landscape not only captures this symbolism with the gently rising topography, it will become a catalyst for a new urban ecological system with the formal folds redolent of a textured fabric, recalling the nickname given to Daegu: ‘Textile City’. As a result the new library will create a fluid spatial arrangement which is a coalescence of connectivity, shared technology, sustainability, seeded complexity and biodiversity.

The conceptual heart of the project is a serene internal garden which is oriented axially to the revered Gatbawi Buddha (believed to possess the ability to grant at least one wish). Concealed within the mountain and with the qualities of an enchanted garden, it is literally a garden within the landscape. Protected by the surrounding building, this peaceful and lush refuge offers the possibility of being within the building yet in an exterior space specifically designed for meditation, introspection, learning and exchange. Furthermore the ‘hill’ will enhance the biodiversity of the site, a protected area where indigenous Korean plants and organisms will proliferate in their native climate.

New libraries provide facilities that go beyond the storage and distribution of books and physical media. With modern technology they now offer access to an increasingly versatile and con¬stantly evolving range of resources. For this reason the new library is a dynamic information mediator which transfers and processes information, a hybrid environment with extensive e-information resources and an e-platform-based space for searching through e-media, all integrated with lounge areas to encourage the exchange of information. Established event spaces will offer an ideal setting for a wide range of functions, such as ‘meet-the-author’ events, country-specific themat¬ic presentations, class reunions and children’s activities. The multi-purpose exhibition and lecture space has been designed like a carefully placed stone within the garden, which can be accessed from multiple sides. A café/restaurant has been integrated in the programme so as to provide a much needed informal setting within the peaceful interior oasis/garden.

The new library will attain excellent sustainability standards thanks to its green roof which provides considerable energy savings, internal heating and cooling achieved by boreholes/earth tubes or crypt cooling, allowing air to circulate through large-diameter underground pipes with a stack for discharging at high level. Furthermore the proposal makes efficient use of the rainfall which is collected from the roof and stored for irrigation and grey water purposes; rainwater collected from the garden is naturally purified and stored as potable water for the entire complex.

The region is home to one of the country’s five largest steel manufacturers (Posco) and opportunities exist to construct the wave-form structure using local materials and labour. Using optimised algorithms to minimize the number of diagonals, the light structure will be developed through parametric studies of a double triangulated frame composed of welded tubes of varying thicknesses to meet the localized structural requirements.

The resulting proposal is a seamless ensemble of architecture and landscape, poetic hybrid spaces to encourage leisure, cultural knowledge and lifelong education through equal opportunities to all citizens, by fostering personal advancement through literary and cultural pursuits and personal and civic skills. It also has a dedicated children’s area, where exploration and discovery are encouraged at the various developmental stages. Through its light, sinuous architectural forms, the new library will not only express balance and vitality in a knowledge-based entity, but will also offer a new self-diversifying ecological system that will consolidate over time, offering spiritual stimulation and independent learning for future generations.

Name: Biodiversity Hill
Architects: Matteo Cainer Architects
Location: Dalgubeol-daero, Suseong-gu, Daegu, South Korea
Programme: Metropolitan City Library
Client: Daegu Metropolitan City Suseong-gu Office
Project size: 3,080 m2
MCA Principal: Matteo Cainer
MCA Team: Ebba Fox, Aurelie Bouet

Daegu, South Korea | 3,080 m2
Metropolitan City Library
International competition