Temple of Ignorance

This library proposal will provide a much-needed additional free workspace for the city of Cardiff. It will become a community anchor point for the community of Butetown. The project aims to welcome a wide range of users, with easy access, varieties of workspaces and a domestic massing that feels approachable for children. The aspiration has been for the library to spark intrigue in visitors whilst respecting the ritual of a library as a place of study. This ritual forces us to slow down and absorb information more thoughtfully, acting as a “Temple of ignorance” by reminding us of what we do not yet know.


The structural approach is based on the comfort provided by a tree: the strength of its trunk and branches and the way light filters through its leaves. The trunk forms a central core that draws light in for the occupants.

Section of library

The floor plates hang from the “branches” with a degree of elegance. The two smaller forms have a different structural approach which is based on the idea of a protective shell. This suits the more intimate spatial experience and the younger age of the occupants. The objective is to adhere to the notion of taking responsibility for learning, and having personal agency over light for reading is a feature of the design.

Construction of library

The pitched roof form has commonality with the local housing and its tall presence holds some of the sculptural interest of the monumental buildings at the water’s edge, establishing a connection to the rich heritage of architecture in Cardiff Bay.

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Work Provided by George Wood

Email Id: woodgc1@cardiff.ac.uk