Full disclosure: This isn’t your average public library. What was formerly a derelict space within a century-old building in one of Bangkok’s most impoverished districts is now home to a unique community library. The space is complete with a lofted study zone, a backyard area, and a central reading room that has an assortment of colorful cube-shaped shelves filled with books. Measuring 10 by 30 feet, and built for less than $5,000, the Min Buri Old Market Library is the result of a collaboration between TYIN tegnestue architects, a nonprofit organization in Norway, and the Thailand-based CASE architecture studio.
The two teams took a largely environmental approach to the small library’s design, using as many local and reused materials as possible (such as recycled wood for the structural cladding). They incorporated sun-loving skylights and placed large potted plants throughout. The Min Buri Library is not only an attractive, design-forward space that’d be perfect for curling up with a book, it’s also beneficial for the largely impoverished neighborhood. “The urban poor, in areas like Min Buri, are [often] left out of social and humanitarian support systems,” wrote TYIN in a statement upon the library’s opening. “[Our] aim…is to strengthen the passion in the neighborhood that eventually can contribute to a positive development in the area.”