Lib-Ark | Central Park

Library, Park, Ark

Location: Central Park, New York

Program: Library, Amusement Park

Time: 2019 (Conceived)

Team: Zheng Tao, Fernie Lai, Alan Hung, Zhang ZeQun, Li JiaXin

I. Library, Park, Ark
Welcome to Lib-Ark — the Library, the Park, the Ark, all-in-one for any literary adventurers. Allow us to guide you through “the protagonists' journey”, and spend the day in meditation, reflection, or immersed in the simple pleasure of reading while traveling through the park. In these mobile reading pods that traverse this invigorating landscape, the journey will take you over hills and into valleys, past creeks and lakes, through forests and meadows. This is the future of libraries - beyond stale and stable bookshelves that will transform reading into an innovative experience. Lib-Ark stores and holds one of New York’s most mobile collection of books. Let the story travel to you, take you with it, and lose yourself on the journey. Situated within Central Park of New York, let this be a haven within a haven.
1. Access
The Access
The Journey
Nodal points in the park or in the city allow you to access “the hero’s journey”, embarking on this futuristic literary adventure for all of us writing our own story. Lib-Ark stores and holds one of New York’s most mobile collection of books. Let the story travel to you, take you with it, and lose yourself on the journey.
2.The Pace
Carefully orchestrated combinations of different rhythms and speed patterns control the pods’ travel on hover tracks. Lift your head from your book and find yourself transported to a whole new scenery.
3. Ascend & Descend
The Ascend
Enjoy the climb, and ascend to the summit.
The Descent
Enjoy that rush, the hover, the drop, before falling deeper and deeper into dreams.
4. The Summit
Reaching a height above the trees of Central Park, you’re treated to a rare view of the city from within the park. As one takes in these iconic surroundings, it is the ideal moment to reflect on one’s past and future, the road that has brought you here and where it will continue to lead. Where will you summit next? Perhaps New York's city skyline, or a book of another visitor, will be the spark that inspires the next step of your journey.
5. The Reading Pod(s)
Transport pods house the majority of our fixed functions, and are essentially mobile mini reading rooms/libraries if you will. You can happen upon a book at random, or reserve a specific text or periodical from the vast collection of the greater New York Library and have it ready and waiting for you at your pod. Pods can also house mini events, day or night. It is a place that transcends you physically, mentally and spiritually into past remembrances or future imaginations.
There are several ways to access reading material:
1. by reserving material to a designated pod ahead of time;
2. via your own personal device any where any time within the complex;
3. by random encounters through curated selection of books on display areas in pods or other public areas;
4. by pick-up at the service counter (see "The Hall”).
6. The Valley
To have hills surrounding you is to feel the mighty presence of nature and your role in it. Maybe a book from the valley will speak to you as its voice, or else a symposium, an event, a music performance will speak for you to revere it.
7. The Plateau
Outdoor reading areas within the natural landscape
Hidden throughout the journey, these platforms serve as moments of rest, or of stillness, each with its own unique relationship with the surrounding man-made or natural scenery. Spend the day, bring wine, bring cheese, a picnic or just lay down with a book over your face, basking in the sun.
8. The Hall
For larger events, lectures, general inquiries and back-of-house functions. The Hall is hidden beneath the man-made landscape fabric, with a view overlooking a small lake.
9. The Reflective Pond
The calm surface of the lakes induces reflection, while the versatility of water in its rippling effects help carry you through the story's journey. Voices carry over the water as a book club nearby reads aloud to one another, and discuss hidden meanings, metaphors, motifs within a classic.
10. The Fall
The sound of rushing water drowns out the world, drowns out conversations, drowns out thought, and lets you immerse yourself in the moment. A circular bench rests beneath the fall, sunken and hidden away underground. Here, you can be with yourself for just a moment, be in touch with your inner self, for the fall is a place for stillness within, for meditation, reflection and for thought, with or without a book. Perhaps one could even write one in this condition with aid of the white noise.
11. The Crossroad(s)
Life is a constant stream of choices — up or down, slow or even slower, where will your journey take you? Which undiscovered text might you encounter?
12.The Zone(s)
The zone finds us all unexpectedly throughout the journey, as in life. When you find yourself in the zone, you'll feel that moment of focus when everything else just falls away and you are completely concentrated on the texts before you. Immersed in your hero’s journey, transcendent in time and space, the zone may appear anywhere within Lib-Ark for each individual.
13. The Sprawl
14. The Connection(s)
In the midst of one of the biggest metropolitan cities, Lib-Ark is dedicated to returning moments of pause to its residents. Currently its beta version is being tested in a specific area within Central Park, but its systems and structures are designed for future possibility of extending throughout the park or even throughout the city.
III. Postscript


The Lib-Ark project was conceived by WAY Studio in 2019, in response to an ideas competition for a new library possibility within New York Central Park. We thought this was a good opportunity to re-consider the definition of a Library within our current information-age, where information is available at the tips of our fingers and our reading habits shifting drastically from paper books to digital articles.
We enjoy the convenience of this new information age, but can’t help letting go of the romantics of happening upon a book, a story or just a couple of lines of text, which does not occur in the same way in the digital platform. Therefore we integrated these experiences along with our interventions of the site, and created the Lib-Ark experience.


Features within the Lib-Ark experience are inspired by the wonderful works of J.K.Rowling, “The Inner Studio” by Andrew Levitt, and the movie Inception.