Toyo Ito’s design of the new College of Social Sciences for the renowned National Taiwan University has brought forth a building that is clearly subdivided according to functions. The eight-storey bar-shaped structure with lecture halls and study spaces fronts the library’s ­single-storey reading room – a glazed pavilion with tree-like supports that, in combination, form a roof surface penetrated by skylights. The organic forms of the elements and their placement was developed geometrically and in keeping with the structures of the petals of lotus blossoms.

Taking three focal points as starting point, the density of columns decreases as one moves outward. The variety in the positioning of the columns gives the reading room its distinctive flair: it is a generously scaled, hall-like space in which the columns in some cases stood so close to each other that »clearings« were introduced to open the space up and give visitors the impression that they are in a wooded landscape.

Daylight enters through the glazed spaces ­between the roof elements; the light is dispersed by translucent polycarbonate sheet. In this manner a soft light is achieved. In the evening, large, disc-shaped pendant lights ­illuminate the ceiling.