Libraries are something that has been revolving my head ever since I read some writings by Kahn on the Exeter Academy Library. Part of my graduate studies focused on how this typology has evolved during this last few years, moving between the silent sanctuary of books we find at Exeter and new public spaces like OMA’s Seattle Library.
As the publishing/reading platforms are changing at an unprecedented speed (Web 2.0, eReaders and the Kindle, an upcoming “Hulu for Magazines”), physical libraries have the challenge to be a place for research, gathering, socializing… being built today, to house activities in the future that we don´t even know yet.
A good example is the ongoing “Urban Mediaspace”, a project by danish practice Schmidt / Hammer / Lassen Architects which will be completed by 2014. The project is part of a large scale urban renewal project to regenerate the docks area in Aarhus, Denmark.
A big covered public space offers the flexibility needed for this kind of program, enclosed by a transparent skin that connects the outside public space with the new interior public space.
Project description and more images after the break. Thanks to Trine from SHL for sharing this project with us:
Urban Mediaspace will be Scandinavia’s largest public library and belongs to a new generation of libraries that are built for the feature and thus enjoys a very flexible design. The building is situated at the mouth of the Aarhus River in one of the most prominent sites of the Aarhus city centre.
Urban Mediaspace is part of a wider plan to regenerate the old cargo docks on the harbor front, connecting it to the old city centre. The leading idea is that of a covered city space. A large heptagonal slice hovers above a glazed prism, which is resting on a square of ice flake shaped stairs fanning out to the edge of the sea. The ice flakes create wide spaces that are targeted for recreational activities and outdoor events. The heptagon will contain the media house administration and offices for rent. The glass building below is very transparent and allows passers-by to see the activities in the building while the users have a 360 degree panoramic view from the inside.
The glass structure contains the various departments in staggered levels over three floors. The departments cover children’s theatre, interactive activities, DVD and games, books and magazines, events, exhibitions, cafés and restaurants. Below ground, the large parking area will be available to the while city. Part of the traffic along the waterfront will run beneath the building. To boost public transportation the new tram will have a stop here while access by bike is also encouraged.
Client: The municipality of Aarhus and Realdania
Competition: 2009, 1st prize, restricted international competition
Status: Construction period 2011-2014
Engineer: Alectia Consulting Engineers
Landscape: Kristine Jensens Studio
Bosch & Fjord Interior Design & Art
The Danish School of Librarians by Dr. art Henrik Jochumsen og Dr. art Casper