On 11 November 2021, The Dulwich College Seoul Inquiry hub was awarded a 2021 Award from the American Institute of Architects International Region. The AIA IR is the broadest geographical region of the AIA and is composed of over 2400 U.S. licensed architects practicing internationally in approximately 110 different countries. The AIA IR has bestowed 5 awards to Korea-based architects, 3 of which have been awarded to John Hong. This year’s award ceremony was held in Dubai on 11 November 2021.
Here is our pre-recorded acceptance speech:
The Dulwich College Seoul Inquiry Hub is a library and interactive learning space for primary school children ages 4 through 7. As a renovation of an outdated children’s library, the new design implements the idea of ‘interior urbanism’ to create immersive spaces that foster creative learning and play. While the existing library placed children and books across a low, horizontal datum, the new design takes advantage of the double-height volume and uses landscape-like stairs, mezzanines, a hammock, and central tower to create a sense of individual agency. Through the nested scales of new elements, children and adults can interact in diverse social ecosystems, from one-on-one to collective engagement.
The Inquiry Hub intersects with the larger academic community through its transparent entry and reading bay window. Interior elements are carefully positioned to draw students into a bookstacks area with an adjacent book mezzanine. This zone creates ‘future memories’ through abstractly referencing an urban arcade and historically significant libraries from around the world. In the double-height multi-purpose area, the afore-mentioned landscape stair with integrated bookshelves allows children to gather in various groups.
The library’s central figure is a 2-story tower supporting a hammock: Together they form a vertical learning and play experience. The added dimension allows access to two levels of front-facing books – a display format that inspires children to interact with learning materials. The top portion of the tower faces a flexible 2nd floor classroom reserved for language learning, technology, crafts, and lectures and workshops.
John Hong AIA + Hoseung Lee (Design Directors)
Yeongshin Sim, Eunseop Suh (Design Team)
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The Dulwich Inquiry Hub Library wins a 2021 AIA International Region Award and is featured in SPACE Magazine: The children’s library implements the idea of ‘interior urbanism’ to create immersive spaces that foster creative learning and play.