There are many beautiful, innovative, thoughtfully designed libraries in the world, but few are as high-concept as Brooklyn-based architecture studio Bollingen’s proposal for Songdo Library in South Korea: the “Artificial Brain.” Reads Bollingen’s proposal, “Objects communicate with each other to collect, analyze, coordinate, and inform data to support people . . . ‘I think, therefore I am,’ a network of objects thinks like the human brain, therefore becomes a living entity. . . Our goal is to make an architecture as a corporeal being, and to provide a proper body with the mind of objects.”
The library is shaped like a labyrinth to represent the cortex of the brain, for “both are complex places to attain knowledge.” To create an architecture of the brain, Bollingen has turned to trees—used, like neurons in the brain, as connective points throughout the library. In the library, books don’t exist separately from the building, but instead when stacked merge into the architecture itself—just as knowledge shapes the mind. Also, there’s apparently plans for a sophisticated library AI. They don’t cut corners in the Artificial Brain!
The Artificial Brain is nothing like any building I’ve never seen, but I’m drawn to it somehow; perhaps my brain is looking at it and recognizing itself. With its high ceilings, open spaces, and connection to nature, the Artificial Brain seems like a great place to absorb information—as long as you’re not squeamish about metacognition.