Final | Cambodia, Phnom Penh | Community Library

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by Tim_Yap_Ming_En


I finalised the design of the community library. Given the high dropout rates of Cambodian students in primary and secondary education, my response is to design a community library for the public to provide educational resources to students, promote reading and create a public learning space for the community. Key objectives include the provision of the following:

(1) Places of engaging learning and rest  from hectic city life

Tranquil, serene study areas are complemented by dynamic browsing areas. These indoor spaces are in turn complemented by an outdoor space at the corner of the building giving the visitor a breath of fresh air.

(2) Accessibility for the disabled and visually impaired

All spaces are made accessible to the disabled and visually impaired with the use of ramps and tactile guides respectively. A browsing section designed with primary tactile features is specially designed for the latter.

(3) Spaces ideal for community cohesion

Two public spaces are in the building, one on the ground floor and other on the rooftop. The former invites passers-by to enter the building and join in public conversation while the latter enables the facilitation of cohesive activities away from traffic noise and street bustle.

To maximise the usage of space, the lift and stairs are relegated to the south edge of the building to allow for large uninterrupted spaces. The programs are roughly arranged from more public to more private.

Calligraphy image source: 

The first three floors are mainly covered with glass curtains which are partially shaded by protruding wooden louvers. The higher floors are covered with flushed windows. Diffused light enters into the stairwell through a wall with a grid perforation.

Level 1: The ground floor consists of the exhibition gallery and the cafe. The cafe opens out towards the north side while the gallery is visible through a glass curtain to pedestrians walking along the sidewalk on the west side. The gallery is intended to be a public space where members of the public can engage in discourse relating to the content on exhibition (EG Khmer calligraphy) Entry to the building lies at the top left corner which is sheltered by a wooden structure.

Level 2-3: These are the library floors. The second floor has more general books while the third floor is designed more for students. The wooden structure situated at the corner provides outdoor areas where visitors can get a breath of fresh air. The third floor is divided into a browsing area and a study area.

Level 4: This floor contains learning spaces, including two classroom and a computer lab. All three rooms are separated by accordion walls which can be retracted to merge the space together.

Level 5: This floor contains staff spaces, including the staff office and an archive room containing old books.

Level 6: The rooftop is used as a multipurpose outdoor public space mostly covered by grass turf and shaded by a wooden pergola.


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