Beitou library makes coolest green building list

Taipei Public Library’s Beitou Branch is one of the 10 coolest green buildings in the world as assessed May 25 by international travel website When On Earth.

The structure was selected on the strength of its environmentally friendly features like rooftop solar cells and rainfall capturing and storage systems. A sustainable design minimizing environmental impact earned the library a place alongside other eco-minded architectural innovations in Australia, Bahrain, Dubai, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, the UK and US.

Library Director Hung Shih-chang welcomed the facility’s listing, but said it did not come as too much of a surprise. “After all, the building is Taiwan’s first green architecture project to attain the highest local certification standard for ecology, energy saving, waste reduction and health.”

According to Hung, the solar cells are capable of generating 16,000 watts of energy, or 10 percent of the library’s total power consumption, while collected water is used to flush the toilets and sprinkle the gardens.

“But the real beauty of this building lies in its wooden construction, deep balconies and vertical trellises,” Hung said. “These further reduce power consumption and save energy by helping ward off thermal radiation.”

Located in Beitou Park in northern Taipei City, the three-story library was designed by architect Kuo Ying-chao to breathe and blend in with its environment. Since opening in 2006, the structure has almost become a tourist attraction in its own right.

The project holds numerous honors such as Taiwan Architecture Award, Green Building Design Excellence Award and Taipei Urban Landscape Award. It was also named one of the 25 most beautiful public libraries in the world by US-based cultural news website Flavorwire in 2012.

Housing over 63,000 books, including a large collection dedicated to ecological conservation, the library is frequented by 600,000-plus visitors annually.

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