In Paju Bookcity, I had consistently argued for changing the existing road system, the greatest hurdle in the development of its first stage. Unfortunately, construction on the second stage began with the same kind of road and lot system. The second stage differed only in name — The City of Book and Film—coined from the movie industry’s participation. The project site, part of the second stage of Paju Bookcity, sat on land right across from Lotte Outlet, a commercial complex that clearly did not suit the city’s vision. The challenge was to make this small building maintain its presence in an area controlled by large-scale shopping.
I raised a wall on the side of the road and sought stability within. Although it was a concrete wall, I wanted to make it look like a bookshelf frame. The volume of the building, centered on a courtyard, is small in scale but filled with various things. There is a café adjacent to the communal yard, a workspace dedicated to book design, a space for exhibitions or conferences, a uniquely shaped meeting room, a small park, and a meditation area. All the spaces have different conditions of light and darkness and vary in shape and size. As they are all independent and contain different energies, a walk through this place becomes a pleasant stroll. The exterior is concrete which need not be of good-quality. Using ordinary plywood for form work, I only asked that it matched the verticality and horizontality of the elevation. It will then manifest the spirit of those who worked on its construction. Covered with a thin layer of white paint, it tells the truth.