Not Just Library in Taiwan

I take off my Nikes and carefully slip on a pair of fashionable black Birkenstock clones provided by Not Just Library.

As Taiwan is heavily influenced by Japanese culture, it would be disrespectful to walk in with your shoes, and is a sign of cleanliness to change into sandals inside, and into a different pair at the genkan before the garden.

Embedded in the Taiwan Design Museum, the architecture of Not Just Library feels ephemeral and fragile—a library designed just for artists, designers, and craftsmen.

Clearly influenced by Japanese architecture, the site is divided into three areas - a simple and sober reading area that leads directly into an outdoor area, and a hidden study where light generously pours from the garden.

In the middle of the study sits a literal bathtub, preserved from the 80 year old public bathhouse that the space one was. According to the architect, the bathtub symbolizes a “vessel of knowledge”.

The perimeter of the reading area is surrounded by design magazines—the Architectural Review, Kinfolk, Casa, and Cereal, to name a few. Walking a few steps down, one enters the "BookBath", a reading area carved into the ground that resembles something like a conversation pit.

I felt like the space was designed just for me. After spending half an hour searching for the perfect magazine, I melt into it in a corner tatami chair.

According to the library's architect, the space is meant for creatives to “bathe in knowledge through the company of books, sunlight, plants and scents.”

The library also serves as a venue for design-related exhibitions and talks, hence the name, "Not Just Library".

Scent - 4

Vibes - 5

  • Almost every artist in town is here for the vibes.

Textures - 3

  • A poetic dichotomy of cement and wood.

Lighting - 5

  • The light pools in generously from the seamless divide between outside and inside.

Noise - 4

  • Occasional whispers, camera clicks, and magazine flips. Jazz hop music fills the room.

Inclusivity & Accessibility - 2

Total: 23 / 30

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