Architectural Intern Wins Third Place in ACSA Steel Competition

Congratulations to WORTHGROUP’s own Nicholas Fish, for placing 3rd out of 500 submissions in the ACSA Steel Design Competition. Teaming with fellow peers, Junye Zhou and Tony Tai-An Yue, and guided by professor Huang, the competition challenged participants to design a contemporary library using steel construction. Below is the concept and images of their project, Beacon: Heterotopia of Lagos’ Public Space.


The library is a new form of public space serving as Lagos’ community center. It generates and supports public activities and events, which normally take place in the traditional markets and streets, allowing full access to the public. While some program spaces are dedicated to books, reading, and digital information, many spaces can play different roles defined by users which are flexible and can be programmed and reprogrammed for different activities, such as art and craft workshops, vocation school and evening classes, conferences, performances, exhibitions, and markets. The library is a network of urban streets and markets within an organized multi-level structure, adaptable for the daily needs of the community.

The form is derived from the indigenous African hut structure composed of dense and elongated lineal structural elements arranged in an overall centralized layout, optimizing the advantages of steel construction. The organized chaotic form is designed to reflect traditional African architectural and spatial expression with rich textures, materials, and naturalistic formal and structural characteristics. Fundamentally, it is a porous and open-air shelter promoting, not only sustainable building concepts, but also sustainable lifestyles rooted in Lagos’ traditional culture. Special program spaces, such as the collection and periodicals, are fully enclosed with mechanical climate control mechanism combining with natural ventilation. The entire structure is layered with solar cell imbedded glass and perforated steel paneled louvers, diffusing sunlight and maintaining visibility to the outside.

The form evolves into a two-fold manifestation: on the one hand, it projects a unified and clear formal identity; on the other hand, the large open shelter contains layers of indeterminacies of spaces, actions, events, and programs, simultaneously transforming with Lagos’ community life. The library is not only a beacon emulating a community center, but also a heterotopia of Lagos’ public space - accessible to all.