Located at the tail of the long administrative complex building of the city of Sejong, the National Library designed by Samoo architects and engineers derives the concept of its semblance from that of a book page turned over. This sui generis outline gives a levitating impression to the structure and makes it an easily recognizable milestone.

The ancient adage, “Never judge a book by its cover”, most definitely applies to this architectural marvel by Samoo architects and engineers. Spread across 21,076 Square meters of area, this cultural oasis has been attracting tours from contemporaries, students, residents, and tourists alike. This facility is built to provide the public servants who have recently moved to the area as a part of the government relocation program with a central location for policy data.

National Library of Sejong City by Samoo Architects & Engineers - Sheet1
National Library of Sejong City_©www.sejong.go.kr.jpg, Sejong City

This four-storeyed ‘E-BRARY’ with two additional basement levels, where digital and analog go hand in hand, imparting significance to bodily sensations and emotions, houses an expansive, open lobby on the first floor with an exquisite view, to catch the eyes of visitors.

The facility stores a vast collection of about 3.3 million books and a wide range of digital gen. This availability of the latest and up-to-date reading material results in 13% of library books being checked out daily, an unusually high rate for a library. The most incredible service of this facility is its push email service, which provides customized facts and scoops about Avant-garde documents, books, and digital content per one’s interests. There are 22 kiosks throughout the city. When a member requests a book online and visits the nearest kiosk, the book is delivered there and can be returned to the same.

National Library of Sejong City by Samoo Architects & Engineers - Sheet2
Front Façade of the Library_©Young Chae Park

The front façade is a glazed flat surface, followed by a large pedestrian plaza. It is supported by vector active structural systems, that is, trusses. Spatial connectivity throughout vast open spaces is maintained. Sunlight enters the building through the curtain wall glazing and functions as a light guide through the space, acting as a visual signage system. The library accommodates reading/study rooms, seminal rooms and conference halls, digital reference rooms, and many other fascinating spaces designed with an aesthetic appeal with a modern edge. The splendid view of the lake introduced inside the building creates a paramount atmosphere for library users.

National Library of Sejong City by Samoo Architects & Engineers - Sheet3
Floor Plan_©Young Chae Park, Sejong City

In the vibrant and vividly painted children’s library, juvenile clients are provided with an RFID tag so that their parents or guardians can trace their whereabouts while they explore and read on their own. Along with this, stack rooms, underground parking, and MEP chambers are situated on the basement floors. The user service room is on the second floor, and educational facilities such as lecture rooms are on the third floor.

The sky lounge and the rooftop terrace on the fourth floor are a boon for non-readers and casual visitors as well, serving them with the elixir of scenic tranquility of the waters and the surrounding landscape.

Interior Views_©www.sejong.go.kr
Interior Views_©www.sejong.go.kr
Interior Views_©Young Chae Park, Sejong City
Interior Views_©Young Chae Park, Sejong City
Interior Views_©Young Chae Park
Interior Views_©Young Chae Park

The Samoo architects and engineers designed the project attaining Level 1 certification for both Building Energy Efficiency and Barrier-Free (BF) Environment by the persistent utilization of 3D BIM systems for safety management. Therefore, the project features the characteristics of optimizing the indoor acoustic environment and maximizing new and renewable energy usage.

Isometric Section_©Frost Architects
Isometric Section_©Frost Architects

Major structural rudiments like crossbeams, columns, and cores were modeled with BIM to confirm the necessitated programs’ viability and constructability. BIM handed results to pre-construction simulations of interoperability among colorful disciplines and manufacturing of unique panels and curtain wall systems that were abecedarian to the unique shapes of this arrangement.

Off to the north of the land connected from the central office structure to the central demesne lies the main entrance and exit for wayfarer access. The central forecourt and the rambler galleria in the west form an open space centered on climbers in connection with the aesthetic installations in the surroundings. The water demesne in the east and the neighborhood demesne in the south are connected with a rotation-type green area. In the outside space stands the book theme demesne and the form demesne in consideration of the wedge-type green axis directed to the megacity from the central demesne. Its shape sitting faintly on the pine tree hills and a pond if the first page is being turned exudes the perceptivity sense. A similar design has stemmed from the image that the information is being transferred to come to the icon that signifies the dynamic city.

The National Library by Samoo Architects And Engineers_©archiquality.blogspot.com

In conclusion, the library has become an important asset to the megacity furnishing a platform for disquisition & commerce. It offers a wide range of installations to attract visitors and acts as a focal point for the megacity boosting tourism through its unique architecture and figure.

References – Sejong City

Online sources

  • Herald, K., 2013. National library to open in Sejong City. [online] The Korea Herald. Available at: <https://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20131205000755> [Accessed 1 October 2022].
  • Heerim.com. 2022. National Library of Korea, Sejong. [online] Available at: <https://heerim.com/en/project/project_view.php?idx=762> [Accessed 30 September 2022].
  • https://architypereview.com/project/national-library-of-sejong-city/

Images/visual mediums

Citations for YouTube videos:

  • Arirang News. (2014). Arts & Culture: Part 1 – The National Library of Sejong City. [YouTube video]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwjMgt_YetE. [Accessed: 30/ 09/ 2022].

Citations for images/photographs – Print or Online:

  • Image 1-Access URL : https://www.sejong.go.kr/eng/sub03_0103.do;jsessionid=FBC0AB70CEEE00FDDB03E2D93238FF3F.portal2
    • Image 2- Park, Y. (2019). 10 Projects in Which BIM was Essential. [Photograph].
    • Image 3- Park, Y. (2019). 10 Projects in Which BIM was Essential. [Photograph].
  • Image 4- Access URL : https://www.sejong.go.kr/eng/sub03_0103.do;jsessionid=FBC0AB70CEEE00FDDB03E2D93238FF3F.portal2
    • Image 5- Park, Y. (2019). National Library Of Sejong/Samoo Architects and Engineers. [Photograph].
    • Image 6- Park, Y. (2019). National Library Of Sejong/Samoo Architects and Engineers.  [Photograph].
  • Image 7- Frost Architects, J. (2019). Perspective Section – Campus Örebro: Casa Nova. [Photograph].
  • Image 8- Access URL:https://archiquality.blogspot.com/2017/04/sud-chungcheong-corea-del-sud-national.html

A 4th-year student who is as fascinated by the architecture around the world as she is captivated by the words of literature. A keen observer, expanding her horizon of knowledge in the field of architecture by listening, reading and exploring.