The “’Open Exchang’ proposal, for the Green Square Library and Plaza competition, creates a space of public engagement by challenging the role of the library in the contemporary city of Sydney. Designed by MODU , in collaboration with Future Green Studio landscape architects, their project becomes a social and public space made possible by new technology, with the potential to transcend the traditional definition of learning spaces. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Today’s library is no longer merely a central repository for book storage and protection. n Sydney’s temperate climate, the “Open Exchange” library and plaza breaks down the conventional borders between interior and exterior activities. The plaza can be as much a place of learning as the library can be a space of engagement. The library of “Open Exchange” is organized around a series of partially exterior spaces that traverse the building horizontally and diagonally and, like the plaza, turns indoor and outdoor relationships “inside out.” These interactive spaces, collectively called “The Feed,” initiate both natural and artificial flows through the library.
“The Feed” begins as a covered outdoor lobby that allows prevailing winds to move through and above the building. Within the library, LED signs are integrated into an operable glass enclosure that permits natural ventilation while receiving multiple data feeds in real time—information about plaza events, passages from the library’s collection, internet data streams or even local bird migratory habits. The “Feed” combines traditional forms of knowledge with the immediacy of digital information, synthesizing them into a contemporary model of social engagement and learning. As “The Feed” rises through the floors, it organizes the library’s interior programs into either formal enclosed spaces that require climatic and light control, or informal open reading areas that receive both natural light and cross-ventilation.
“The Feed” emerges on the library’s roof in an outdoor reading “room”. A series of outdoor “rooms” are similarly found throughout the plaza. These “rooms” constitute a “living laboratory,” indexing dynamically changing conditions through the interaction of natural materials and weather, as well as through monitoring technologies that chart elements like weather, traffic, and bird habitats. The synthesis between natural and artificial worlds creates a dynamic, sensorial landscape within the library while fostering a similar environment outside of it.
Architects: MODU Location: Sydney, Australia Principals: Phu Hoang, Rachely Rotem Project Team: Phu Hoang, Rachely Rotem, Pratyusha Viddam, Amanda Morgan, Eduardo Rega Consultants: Future Green Studio (Landscape Architect) Client: City of Sydney Type: Library competition Project Area: 30,000 square feet / 3,000 square meters Date: November 2012