Oksoo Elementary School Library: A Playground-Like Space for Learning and Exploration

Transforming an Old Library into a Creative and Innovative Education Space

The Oksoo Elementary School Library, a public elementary school located in Seoul, has undergone a remarkable transformation. Designed by Yoojin Jang, the library now offers a bright and playground-like environment that encourages children to explore the world of books and knowledge. With its unique design and thoughtful features, the Oksoo Elementary School Library is redefining the concept of a school library.

Inspired by the idea of blurring the boundaries between playing and reading, Yoojin Jang has created a space where children can sit at their desks, recline on cushions, or even lie down to read. The bookshelves are arranged in various ways, including double-rail bookshelves and shelves at children's eye level, ensuring easy access to a wide range of books.

One of the key strengths of the Oksoo Elementary School Library is its ability to transform conventional facilities into creative and innovative education spaces. As part of a public school remodeling project sponsored by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, this library exemplifies the vision of recreating old spaces into vibrant and engaging learning environments.

When it comes to the design realization, the lighting and ceiling play a crucial role in creating the desired atmosphere. The ceiling is painted in a sky-blue color, evoking a sense of openness and freedom. Carefully selected lighting products enhance the different areas of the library, contributing to a welcoming and comfortable ambiance. Additionally, some of the existing LED lights were reused to minimize waste and promote sustainability.

The Oksoo Elementary School Library also takes into consideration the comfort of its users. Some floors are heated, allowing children to take off their shoes and read while lying down. This feature is particularly popular during the winter months. To address the issue of excessive sunlight, blinds were installed to control the amount of natural light entering the space. Some windows were even blocked with bookshelves, creating a unique and functional design element.

The librarian's space is another highlight of the library. It is spacious and provides ample storage, allowing the librarian to have a clear view of the entire interior. This design choice promotes a sense of openness and accessibility, making it easier for the librarian to assist students and maintain a well-organized collection of books.

Despite the challenges posed by a limited budget, Yoojin Jang, in collaboration with the school and the construction company, managed to create a library that exceeded expectations. The Oksoo Elementary School Library is a testament to the power of creativity and collaboration in overcoming constraints and delivering a space that truly benefits the students.

The Oksoo Elementary School Library project took place from May 2020 to March 2021. The transformation of this old library into a vibrant and engaging space has breathed new life into the school, providing students with an inspiring environment for learning and exploration.

Photo credit: YouSub Song

Intellectual Property Notice: Copyrights belong to INSITU Architecture

Awards and Accolades: The Oksoo Elementary School Library was awarded the Bronze A' Design Award in the Interior Space, Retail, and Exhibition Design category in 2023. This prestigious award recognizes the outstanding creativity and ingenuity of the design, which incorporates best practices in art, science, design, and technology. The library's design not only showcases strong technical and creative skills but also contributes to improving the quality of life for its users, making the world a better place.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: yoojin jang
Image Credits: Photo credit: YouSub Song
Project Team Members: yoojin jang
Project Name: Oksoo Elementary
Project Client: yoojin jang

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