Gwangju City Main Library

    Gwangju, South Korea


    Gwangju Metropolitan Government


    10520 m2


    Melike Altınışık

    Tan Akıncı, Begüm Aydınoğlu, Özge Tunalı, Alev Cansu Ovalı, Şeyma Özübek

    Erk Solmaz



Library building designed for Gwangju City Main Library ( GCML ), as first phase of the ‘Regenerating Sangmu Incinerator’ to create a urban cultural park for citizens, aims to play a catalytic role in Gwangju City not only to become an intellectual symbol of Gwangju for the citizens to move towards an international city but also it aims to preserve cultural background with index and architectural vision becoming a cultural hub and a learning center to gather citizens together to create their future while the existing Plant building also gets a new identity by becoming the ‘Film Studios& Performing Art Center’ of Gwangju City. Designing an elevated second ground (+5.00) ‘Exhibition Terrace’ creates an extension of the ‘Exhibition Park’ for the outdoor and 

indoor exhibition activities towards the end of the ‘Cultural Belt’. Creative and harmonious planning combines the community sport and social facilities with public library – public platform.

The ‘Exhibition Terrace’ of GCML has a role as a design tool for meeting functional requirements and conditions of spatial comfort and building physics, creates a wide range of possibilities for connection with urban orientation and public spaces within its non-directional form generation. It blends into its surrounding landscape with continues looping circulations. It generates a diversity by creative combinations of new cityscape that encompasses past & future.

GMCL design combines its form and structure, offers a complete concept to obtain coherency between plan and sections, and harmonizes the library elevations with its own landscape.

It will create a significant gathering place for many people over the years. It will attract also young people to be part of this urban lobby. This spatial landscape will act as a place for stopping, resting, 

gathering,a roof for the cultural life of Gwangju with several Vista points.

This design dialogue creates the relationship between the Library and the surrounding nature, river on the north and cultural park on the south to define the identity of this ambience in which these nature and culture meet.GMCL will create a harmony as an expression of a cultural continuity.

From Spaces of Collection to Spaces of Creation

GCML generates a meaning to public as a Library to reflect the ‘Sacred space of Knowledge’ as a ‘Public space’ with cultural and architectural treasure. Library filled with books; an institution dedicated to the interior life of mind. Libraries meant something more to cities and their inhabitants than being just repositories of the printed world.

You don’t just borrow books, you play video games, complete homework’s, 

listen lectures, musical performances, craft workshops, and take part at the book clubs…We believe that every pathway orientates space. GCML will be a powerful place that changes us in Gwangju.

‘We don’t pass through it unchanged, you pass through it both directions. It creates the imagination of one way trip each time you pass through it. It touches the sensation of users by being in-on-under the library… It creates visual effect, it creates repetition, it slows, it accelerates, it alters the movement of people by its design formation. ‘

Library as a Building ‘Data Visualizer’

To create its own universe for books, archive, exhibitions and education; Library should feed the city with knowledge and City should feed the Library with data. Library as a building can become a data visualizer both locally and globally.

Collected Data From Nature: Sustainability related visuals to enrich citizens’ relationship with natural preservation and recycling for better futures

Collected Data From City: Transportation, Neighborhoods, Facts related visuals

Collected Data Cultural Belt: Visual arts, performatives arts and other cultural 


content from Gwangju’s Cultural Belt. Plant incineration facility that converted to Film studio & Performing Art Center next to our site can use the Media Facade for movie premieres and other activities

Collected Data from Library Archive & Library User’s:  Digital traces are visualized and exhibited on media facade. This is the feedback loop mechanism of the building as it collects from users and gives to users back.

Collected Data from Individual Citizens: Visual Interaction through Public Space That Media Facade Create, Cyclist near the River shares his track data through Building’s App.