Gunārs Birkerts, the prolific Latvian-American architect best known for designing the "Castle of Light"—the world's largest library in Riga, Latvia—has died aged 92. The National Library, which was first conceived in 1988 and officially opened in 2014, has become among the most significant, and controversial, contemporary public buildings in Latvia.
Cloistered by a protective shell of stone, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is one of the world’s foremost collections of rare manuscripts. Opened in 1963, the library is renowned for its translucent marble façade and the world-renowned glass book tower sheltered within – a dramatic arrangement resulting from the particular requirements of a repository for literary artifacts. This unique design, very much in the Modernist lineage but in contrast to the revivalist styles of the rest of Yale’s campus, has only become appreciated thanks to the passage of time; the same bold choices which are now celebrated were once seen as a cause for contempt and outrage.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Library Association (ALA) have selected eight projects as recipients of the 2017 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards. Founded to “encourage and recognize excellence in the architectural design of libraries,” the award draws attention to the changing role of libraries in society, and how exemplary community spaces can change to reflect the needs of their surrounding residents.
The eight winners of the 2017 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards are:
The City of Chicago and the Chicago Housing Authority have announced the selection of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Perkins + Will and John Ronan Architects to lead in the design of three new “co-located” affordable housing and library developments in the Chicago neighborhoods of Little Italy, West Ridge, and Irving Park.
Selected from a shortlist of nine firms, the three Chicago-based teams were chosen for their “innovative ideas that will ensure that each community will have a design that best reflects its needs.” The practices will work intimately with their respective communities to develop their designs.
Self-proclaimed “Instagram purist” Olivier Martel Savoie (@une_olive) has created #olive_libraries, a series of Instagram photographs portraying libraries around the world, using only the camera on his iPhone. Over the past two years, Savoie has traveled from his home city of Montréal, to Berlin, Amsterdam, Budapest, Rome, Riga, Paris, Moscow, and several other cities photographing the stunning architecture of libraries. Encountering language barriers and even intense security, Savoie’s dedication to taking the perfect photo has resulted in a stunning collection of images.
Experience the beauty of libraries around the world, after the break.
André Chiote’s newest series of illustrations focuses on the unique architectural characteristics of modern and contemporary world libraries. Using the building facades as a starting point, Chiote turns the complex exterior geometries and shadows into more minimalist representations of facilities that include: OMA’s Seattle Public Library, Scmidt Hammer Lassen’s University of Aberdeen New Library, and Dominique Perrault’s National Library of France.
“Libraries,” says Chiote, “Are houses of books. And newspapers. And magazines. And music. And movies. The entire world connected, where we are with ourselves and with others. They are our memories and our legacy. The reference of knowledge and leisure but also urbanity. Libraries are the house where we must always return.”
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Library Association (ALA) have selected seven projects to receive the 2016 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards. This awards program was developed to encourage and recognize excellence in the architectural design of libraries, reflecting the evolving role of the library as a community space.
The seven recipients of the AIA/ALA Library Building Awards are:
Four architectural design teams have been chosen to submit designs for the $83.1 million State Library Victoria Vision 2020 Redevelopment Project in Victoria, Australia.
The large-scale project includes the restoration of the historic Queen’s Hall, reopening of the library’s Russell Street entrance, an e-Town Hall, and new spaces for early learning, digital media, entrepreneurship, and exhibitions.
"Big things don't happen overnight," says architect Rob Quigley, speaking to Breadtruck Films, "and civic buildings certainly don't happen overnight." The words ring true in the context of Quigley's San Diego New Central Library, which opened in 2013 following a protracted 17 year period of design and construction. After conceiving of the design in 1996, Quigley's plans for the library were "put on the back burner" when planning authorities chose to halt construction on the project in favor of a new ballpark. Construction eventually recommenced years later, in what has since been described as "absolutely a surreal experience."
In this video Quigley describes the driving force of "creating an architecture that responds honestly and authentically to who we are," and how the library has come to be a "symbol of [San Diego]'s commitment to learning and literacy."
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser has announced the launch of the Qatar National Library (QNL), to be designed by Rem Koolhaas of OMA.
The QNL, a public access library, will symbolically connect the country's past and future. As her highness explained: “The library’s vision of bridging with knowledge Qatar’s heritage and future demonstrates the significant role QNL will play in unlocking human potential as Qatar builds a knowledge-based economy. A modern dynamic National Library for the country is essential in reaching this goal.”
As such, Rem Koolhass - an architect known both for his iconic structures as well as his success with the Seattle Public Library - has been hand-picked for the important design, soon to be, according to the QNL website, "one of the most [...] iconic landmarks in Qatar and the region." As a library on the cutting-edge of digital archiving, the building will require innovative facilities (including over 300 public computers, wifi and multi-media production studios); however, it will also serve the community as a relaxed, social gathering place.
More images of OMA's plans for the Qatar National Library, after the break....
In less than a year of existence, we have featured more than 500 projects! So in case you´ve missed some we will be featuring interesting projects, sorted by building type. Here´s our first selection of Libraries you can´t miss.