Microlibrary Warak Kayu

  • area / size 1,959 sqft
  • Completed 2020
  • Location Semarang, Indonesia,
  • SHAU designed the unique space of the Microlibrary Warak Kayu in Semarang, Indonesia.

    The Warak Kayu Microlibrary is the latest built project within the Microlibrary series – an initiative to increase reading interest by creating socially-performative multifunctional community spaces with environmentally-conscious design and materials, which aim to serve low-income neighbourhoods. Built in a small public square in Semarang, Indonesia, the site borders a river, the popular Kampung Pelangi (Rainbow Village), stall vendors and a school nearby. This project is a community, private sector and government collaboration. The microlibrary charges no entry fee and is run by a locally-embedded charity group in Semarang. It is part of the city tourism bus network and complements the architectural icons of Semarang.

    Constructed almost entirely from FSC-certified wood products, it is the first wooden library in Semarang: a living educational spot for wood material and construction techniques. The wooden library is elevated, like a traditional house on stilts, freeing the space underneath for multiple activities and a wooden swing. The stairs leading up to the library are partly designed as a seating tribune. A ring of planter boxes creates a more intimate semi outdoor space. Upstairs in the library, there is a net where kids can lie down, relax, play, read and communicate with their parents and friends below. This multi-programmatic approach is important, since reading alone is not yet considered a fun activity in the country.

    The library is designed around passive climatic design aspects: no air conditioning is used. The diffuse-reflected sunlight is designed for reading without artificial lighting, thus energy-saving. The performative, deep brise-soleil façade is inspired by the Zollinger Bauweise – a 1920s German construction system with its distinctive diamond pattern – which happens to remind us of Semarang’s local mythical creature ‘Warak Ngendog’ and its dragon-like skin. Hence the name Warak Kayu in Indonesian – meaning Wooden Warak.

    Architect: SHAU
    Contractor: RAH Contractor
    Photography: KIE & team