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Songdo Library International Competition, Korea

Heart of Songdo
A Library as a base for the circulation of people, things, information, energy, and culture

  • Diverse Island
    The project site is on an artificial island.  It is a diverse city where people from various backgrounds gather, hailing from the east, the west and everywhere in-between. This city is gradually growing its own history and sense of place, so the library it needs is not just a facility for reading books. Songdo needs a space that  interacts with people, fostering a new Songdo culture, and a focal point that can circulate these resources throughout the city and beyond. 


  • Plaza & Alley
    In our proposal, the focal point of the project is a Plaza for people to gather in the centre of the site.  The visitor is drawn down a wide path under the building to reach the plaza.  All the spaces in the building face onto the plaza and it is also the main approach to enter the library.  This will become a place where many people come and interact, such as visiting cafes and to enjoy events such as plays.  In addition, there are pathways that seamlessly connects to the surrounding roads crossing the site and the green roof of the building.  These pathways, which are smaller than the plaza, are places where you can enjoy more intimate communication and activities. The western plaza and oriental alley are spaces that are the stage for developing culture. 

  • Stillness & Motion
    The library spaces are on the plaza level which is set a little lower than ground level.  This is to create a cozy reading space with easy control of natural light.  Burying it in the ground makes the building less susceptible to external temperature changes.  On the other hand, the cultural facility parts have been set to the upper level.  The upper level is one large space with a high curved ceiling, giving a feeling of openness and suited to more active cultural functions.

  • Memorial Hill
    This building looks almost like a hill from the surrounding neighbourhood.  We imagine that this hill will turn into a forest as years go by.  As the history of the island and the library accumulates, the appearance of the forest becomes a memory of the history of the island and the library.  Amongst surrounding blocks of homogeneous buildings, this library will help form the island city's identity.


  • Sustainable Circulation
     Another major feature of this site is that the island itself is designed with consideration for the environment.  The library will also function as part of the island's organs. Resources such as hot water and grey water flow in, waste is taken away by pneumatic collection and during the sunny part of the day energy will flow out. People will come and go by walking, cycling and public transport. The sinkholes in the project are opportunities to bring vegetation, light and ventilation into the project bringing people as close to nature as possible.  Energy efficiency is essential for the design, with heating systems inspired by the traditional Korean Ondol. Renewable energy is needed make the project Net Zero, but it was important for us that the architecture didn’t become over-run by technical solutions, but covered by nature instead.

Technical data:

  • Location: Songdo, Korea

  • Built-up area: 2702 m2

  • Total Floor Area; 8607 m2

  • Floor number: 2 floors + 1 basement

  • Typology:  Library

Project team:

  • Architect: Worklounge 03- Vietnam 

  • Structure: NEY & partners

  • Sustainable Design: Worklounge 03- Vietnam

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