Book Heaven

Name Year Type Client
Book Heaven 2019 Competition Gwangju City hall
Collaborators Size Location Status
Jiayun Xu; GuangRuy Tan; Jiarong Yao; Xingyuan Zhu 11,512m2 Gwangju, South Korean Competition
Name Year
Book Heaven 2019
Type Client
Competition Gwangju City hall
Collaborators Size
Jiayun Xu; GuangRuy Tan; Jiarong Yao; Xingyuan Zhu 11,512m2
Location Status
Gwangju, South Korean Competition


Looking back at the evolution of library, globalization and digitalization is gradually eliminating  the identity of library. In the meantime, it also creates an opportunity for us to explore the new generation of future identity that represent the essence of a library——A hall of knowledge that integrate with the local identity and combine with the specific urban context.

Ancient academies in South Korea are important places for people to learn and acquire knowledge. The roof is the symbol that best reflects the traditional Confucian culture in South Korea. The entrance to the heaven of books is a metaphor of an open book falling from the sky.

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CONCEPT: What will be the new identity of local library in Gwangju?

1.Cultural icon:

The book heaven inherited the traditional symbol and it is the new method to represent the local culture of Confucianism. The academy of classical learning in South Korean is an important place for people to learn and acquire knowledge. The roof become the significant symbol to translate the traditional culture to the most present.

2.Social diversity:

The new library will not only be the place for citizens to read and research, but will also become an important venue for gathering. It is the place that could hold multi-purpose events and becomes a continuation of the activities from the South; the adjacent Energy Park, Citizen Park, and all the way to the Kimdaejung Conventional Center. It will introduce a new lifestyle of the future.

3.Sacred space:

The inner space of the new library gradually becomes narrower from bottom to top. It creates the hierarchy of venue for the activities from busy to quiet. At the top part, the entire floor will be the quietest reading space with decline roof, topping at the highest space at 25meters. It generates a new sacred space of reading.

4.Public extension:

The new library will become a new public domain, connecting the new outdoor space which is defined by the diversity of local vegetation. The green space defines the special outdoor event space connecting with the South, from Energy Park to Kimdaejung Conventional Center.

5.Energy sustainability:

The new library is a sustainable building that adapt to the flexible condition of the surrounding and weather. At the South facade, it will be cladded with semi-transparent solar panels of total area of 3,547 sqm. It will convert solar energy to electricity, which could potentially fulfill the energy consumption of the whole library. Due to the slope of the roof, it will be used as a rainwater collection system, in order to convert the rainwater to grey water for the wet cell within the library and outdoor plant irrigation.

6.Future cityscape:

The entrance of “Book Heaven” is the metaphor of an open book which drop from the sky. The new library will become the Gwangju’s new milestone: It creates both the cultural identity and the sense of future. It will not only activate the surrounding with public programs but will also bring positive vibe to the whole region of Gwangju. It will become a simple and strong symbol to be recognized and remembered.



Analyzing the existing condition of Phase 0, the site presents a strong challenge to adapt to the local public domain. The intention is to extend the cultural program from the South, including the Energy Park, Citizen Park and Kimdaejung Conventional Center. It also requires integration with the Sangmu Inciner ator Factory and the heating supply facility.

At Phase 1, our design “Book Heaven” respects the position from South, the entire axis of public domain and the adjacent architectural objects. We want to create the broadest vista and viewing experience inside the library facing the South. Our proposal creates a visual focus point to the South with a public axis perpendicular to axis of the library. We introduce a linear space from the lower peak at the East to the highest peak at the West. The highest point is at 36 meters, introducing an amazing entrance and important iconic image for the city.

As for the landscape design, according to the curvature generated from the basic form, the South, West and East plaza become important public plaza with composition of the landscape represented by divinity of the tree species such as Ginkgo Biloba, Prunus Serrulata, and Platanus Occidentalis, which all could adapt to the local temperature condition and with different activities of different seasons. The South plaza has a strong semi-enclosure gesture connecting

with the South public domain. It is also the playground for the outdoor space of children. The West plaza is another important gesture facing the intersection between Sangmunuri road and Cheonbyeonjwaha road.

At Phase 2, the adjacent Sangmu Incinerator Factory will be transferred into a sport center and a museum. It will be connected with a bridge. The bridge links with the physical training space of the library at 6-meter floor height. The showers and changing rooms could be shared. In the meantime, the landscape is following the curvature of the form of the architecture and continues to divide the plaza into different public domain. It includes outdoor basketball fields and other outdoor facilities.

At Phase 3, the heating supply facility will be removed, and it is be transformed into a landscape zone.



1.The entrance of the “Book Heaven” is a metaphor of an open book which drop from the sky. It will become a significant and eye-catching image not only for the immediate region, but also for the entire urban context of Gwangju.

2.At the 1st floor public lobby, the space links directly with multi-purpose room, exhibition space, and children reading space. It creates vivid public atmosphere to invite people to participate in open program, and it also connects to the outdoor space at the South. At the basement, the bookshop is defined by two voids, creating a different hierarchy to the entrance lobby. It could operate as a separated program.

3.At the 3rd floor and 4th floor, it introduces a quiet reading space with view towards the park at the South, with a long viewing platform. The interior also gets the longest surface with sunlight. The open cafe and light snacks area offer a comfortable zone for the reading space. It provides a range of spatial diversity for the visitors to choose from based on their need.

4.The physical training program locates at the Eastern corner with separated entrance. It could be operated and managed separately. It reserves the space for the future Sangmu incinerator factory development. It is directly connected with a bridge, at 6 meters height.


Project Name:International Competition of City Main Library Gwangju, S. Korea

Office:(Just Open Architecture)JOA

Office Website:

Year: 2019

Designer:Kai Wang,Guangrui Chen,Jiayun Xu,Jiarong Yao, Xingyuan Zhu

Structural consultant:East China Institute of Creative Structure Studio—Xiaotian Yang

Area size:10200㎡

Construction size:3892㎡

Total floor area:11512㎡

Total underground area:3438㎡


landscape area:0.39


number of parking vehicles:67