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Uphill Library

Chengyi Yin

The uphill library is located in the region of Dutch St. Maarten, which is often hit by hurricanes, and the destruction of homes is a setback for the education of both adults and children. The uphill library is not only a place for the residents to read, but also a shelter for people in the event of a hurricane.

As a hurricane-troubled city, Dutch St. Maarten has a large amount of wood waste at the end of each hurricane, mostly the remains of destroyed homes. This waste wood is polluting and wasteful for the countryside. Therefore, the concept of "wood recycling" was introduced. Wood recycling is the process by which waste wood and newly wood are reprocessed and used in the construction of new houses. At the same time, we use prefabricated modular construction to make the whole process of building a wooden library easier and faster.

For the modular design, we drew inspiration from the traditional architecture that survived previous hurricanes. Our modules have square shape, sloping roofs and a raised ground floor to enhance their resistance to natural disasters like hurricanes and floods, providing structural reinforcement.

In terms of functionality, the north side of the site consists of 8m by 8m modules that serve as traditional activity rooms for residents. These traditional local activities include moko jungle activities, musical parades, and graffiti. On the south side of the site, the main library is designed using two 16m by 16m modules.

Because of the prefabricated modularity, the library can also be expanded and demolished if residents are dissatisfied with its functionality in any way.

The uphill library is not just a library, it serves as a community center, providing a welcoming environment for local people to interact and engage with each other without fear of destruction caused by future hurricanes.

The name "uphill library" is also meant to encourage residents to not only keep walking in a city surrounded by mountains, but also to provide a spiritual "uphill climb" in the library.

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