Sydney-based firm Stewart Hollenstein has been awarded an Honorable Mention in the international design competition for a new 17,000 square-meter library in Varna, Bulgaria. Their design scheme focuses on Varna's rich history as a city known for its public gardens, and seeks to make the library a cultural center of the city.
A series of stacked landscapes create indoor and outdoor spaces for both the library and civic activity. A central void pierces through each terrace in order to bring in light and views, while simultaneously acting as a passive ventilation system. The elegant voids create a unique place to study and read.
There is a clear distinction between each floor, allowing each space to evolve as use and demand change over time. A floor designated as a children’s area contains an undulating bookcase, an adventure garden, a youth zone with hammocks, and beautiful views of the Black Sea, among other features.
The ground floor serves as an event space, connecting the library with the activity of the street and surrounding buildings. It is designed as an inviting space with every side of the library activated by public programs including exhibitions, conferences, a café and a large lobby space.
“Libraries need a legibility that allow the public to use them intuitively. People must feel at ease with a place like their own city library, built for them to relax, learn and expand their story,” said Felicity Stewart, Director, Stewart Hollenstein.
The competition was organized by the Varna Municipality and the Chamber of Architects in Bulgaria. The current library is contained in six different buildings spread throughout the city. The goal was to collect all of the books under one roof while simultaneously creating a new public space in the center of Varna.