Dwight School Seoul Spark of Genius Center
Seoul, Korea | 2023
[ Openhouse Seoul ]
One of the challenges of school library design is to foster and sustain diversity. In a multi-grade setting, diversity occurs across many aspects: A library must support growing children, their continued growing knowledge, a cross-disciplinary curriculum, as well as cultural and social individuality.
Instead of separate facilities, the guiding vision of the Dwight Spark of Genius Center combines elementary, middle, and high school libraries into one collaborative realm. A diverse spatial ecosystem lends each of the curriculum areas a strong identity so that students of all levels feel a sense of ownership. Nonetheless, overlaps between programs instill a sense of overall solidarity across age groups.
A linear, ‘growing bookshelf’ is the library’s symbolic center: On its eastern end, the lower bookshelf is easily accessed by pre-school and elementary school children: It is surrounded by a daylit study and play zone featuring a hammock and multi-functional ‘stadium.’ In the center, the linear bookshelf grows to accommodate middle school students where an additional set of book stacks recalls a micro-city with a treehouse hovering above it. The linear bookshelf continues to grow into the tallest section for high-school students. In this zone, students can focus in pod-like study nooks.
Finally, two shared zones bring together all students: In the vertical dimension, a double-height book-tower metaphorically stacks knowledge into a monumental but playful form. In the horizontal dimension, a multi-purpose area adjacent to the entry features modular, moving furniture that supports a diverse range of casual and formal learning environments.
EXPANDED ENTRY: Located at the end of the school’s main corridor, a stainless steel mirror amplifies daylight and expands the library’s presence within the school
PRESCHOOL ZONE: A stepped area adjacent to the entry supports learning and socializing
SITE PLAN: The library is centrally located on the 3rd floor within the school courtyard
ENTRY CANOPY: Views and design elements of the new library enhance the existing corridor
DIVERSE ECOSYSTEM: Pre-school, elementary, middle, and high-school areas have their own specific atmosphere and identity
GROWING SHELF: Functioning as its symbolic center, the main bookshelf ‘grows’ from elementary to high school zones literally and metaphorically organizing the library
HAMMOCK AND AMPHITHEATER: Flexible learning and play spaces can be used daily
COLLABORATION: While each age group has their own space, the design inspires collaboration and peer learning in small or large groups
AMPHITEATER DESK: The space behind the stadium is a curved community desk with immediate access to events at the stadium
READING NOOKS: For older students, individual and smalll group study is essential for test preparation and defining individual interests
BOOK TOWER: A double-height book tower recalls historical libraries and represents the knowledge core of the school
BOOK TOWER: A Piranesian stair winds around the tall bookshelves – as time progresses, more books will fill the space
MODULAR FURNITURE The multipurpose room can support many teaching and study scenarios
LEARNING ECOSYSTEM: The diverse ecosystem of spaces allows students to invent their own way of learning and socializing
John Hong AIA, LEED AP (principal in charge) + Yeongshin Sim, Eunseop Suh (team leaders)
Hoseung Lee, Dongeun Yoo, Jeongsoo Lee, Jinyeong Yang, Euncho Kim (design team)
Architect of Record
Kwangyup Jang, Dyne Architects and Planners
Location: Dwight School Seoul
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