The Library of Kunming University of Science and Technology, designed by Studio Twist, opened in January 2012. This library is regarded as the symbolic center of the university campus. The building form resembles stacked cubes on a plinth with bi-axial symmetry and a vertical central atrium. The central circular atrium serves as the spiritual center as well as the main vertical circulation of the library.
Our initial design for the rotunda is to demolish the mono functional spiral stairs in a column, and replace it with a series of staircases along the round edge of each floor plate that link every 2 floors in a continuous spiral around the central atrium. This would have created balcony-like landings for resting and meeting. Unfortunately, this concept didn’t be implemented because of cost considerations even though the open staircase scheme was more favorable.
The final concept was to keep the closed spiral staircase. In order to still fulfill the potential of the rotunda as a place for chance meetings, we designed tall-backed seats and lectern-like reading desks to be installed in between the columns on every floor surrounding the rotunda atrium. It provide the library users spaces for pause, and facilitate spontaneous interactions or chance meetings between visitors.
Through clear spatial allocation of library functions such as dynamic circulation spaces and slow spaces for pause and chance meetings, natural light filled reading areas and book shelves areas without natural light, dialogue spaces and quiet study spaces, we hope to have created a comfortable and memorable library environment for the students that corresponds to the formal organization of the building.