1. PRE-FABRICATED AND MOBILE
The library is designed to be prefabricated, modular and easy to transport. We envision that this new library prototype can be replicated and transported to any corner of the world using local materials and equipment. With its compact size, the main frame can even be transported using a small pick-up truck. The modular bookshelves can be fabricated off-site and readily installed on site in a day. Every single detail in the library is carefully thought through. Bookshelves of various depths are designed to accommodate books and integrate child-sized reading pods. The differences in depth also become footholds for children to scale up to the reading pods easily.
The design concept is to create an engaging and interactive library for children. The 3 moveable cubes that form the library are flexible and transformable according to the user’s needs. In normal mode, the three cubes are pushed together and locked in place to form a linear library the size of a shipping container. The spatial quality changes when the cubes are pulled apart. The library instantly transforms into a multi-purpose space. This spatial setup gives teachers the possibility of conducting their lessons in the embrace of nature, as well as promoting the arts through staged performances.
3. INTEGRATION OF LOCAL CULTURE
The middle cube features two double pivoting rattan screen doors with 36 unique designs in between the 3 cubes. These screens were produced by locals at the Rattan Association of Cambodia. The cultural element in this contemporary library celebrates the rich local craft culture. The cushions were also custom-made by the village women and the modular bookshelves were manufactured by the nearby village’s labourers. By integrating the locals’ work, we hoped to instill a greater sense of ownership amongst them. This will also encourage better care of the library and help to increase the longevity of the library.
4. ELEVATING QUALITY OF EDUCATION
The library was designed to be a space of empowerment for underprivileged rural children. This new typology serves as a bridge between a lack of educational facility as well as the societal lack of interest to read. After the inception of the library, children are constantly drawn to the books and the villagers have also started to gather at the multi-functional space. It goes beyond just being a place for books, but also becomes an extended learning space and community centre for villagers. With the addition of this library, students can be better engaged and encouraged to remain in school, eventually graduating and being lifted out of poverty.