For their new library and community center in Vennesla, Norwegian architects Helen & Hard bring a sophisticated elegance to the public facility in Norway. The project links an existing community house and learning center, and seeks to become an extension of the main city square with its transparent facade and urban loggia. The expressive ribs combine structure, technical infrastructure, and functionality into one architectonic element that creates a dynamic aesthetic identity for the project to meet the client’s original intent to mark the city’s cultural center.
More about the project after the break.
27 prefabricated glue-laminated timber ribs define the spatial expression of the interior, and their offset construction allows the curves to function as spatial interfaces with inset lighting elements to provide a soft glow to the interiors and acoustic absorbents which contain the air conditioning ducts. ”In this project, we developed a rib concept to create useable hybrid structures that combine a timber construction with all technical devices and the interior,” explained the architects.The ribs change throughout the interior to inform different spaces; at the main entrance, the rib spans the entire width of the building and then slowly condense to create more intimate rooms. While the building’s roof is informed by the geometry of the curves, the massing along traces the natural lines of the site and responds to the main street by folding down towards it.
Typical of Helen & Hard’s work, the project also focuses on reducing the energy need through the use of high standard energy saving solutions in all new parts of the project. The library is a “low-energy” building, defined as class “A” in the Norwegian energy-use definition system.
Architects: Helen & Hard
Location: Vennesla, Norway
Team Helen & Hard: Reinhard Kropf, Siv Helene Stangeland, Håkon Minnesjord Solheim, Caleb Reed, Randi Augenstein
Client: Vennesla Kommune
Competition entry: 2009
Budget: 66,4 mill NOK (excl.tax)
Area: 1938 sqm gross
Photographs: Emile Ashley