Maritime Design: Rare Coastal Libraries Around the World

Maritime Design: Rare Coastal Libraries Around the World

As architecture has evolved to include advanced building envelopes, innovative structural systems, and hybrid programs, new boundaries have been drawn. Sustainable practices and passive strategies have led architects to re-imagine building skins and the relationship between interior and exterior. While different typologies are designed with varied levels of permeability, libraries demand rigorous attention to performative facades and protected programs. This holds especially true when libraries are placed within radically changing landscapes.

© Tuomas Uusheimo© Fernando Alda© Luc Boegly© Taisuke Ogawa+ 10

Stormen / drdh architects. Image © David Grandorge
Stormen / drdh architects. Image © David Grandorge

Coastal architecture has become increasingly threatened by the climatic crisis, rising sea levels, and erosion. Here, natural processes reveal global stories. While the number of coastal libraries is relatively small, these important spaces juxtapose extreme constraints and cultural values. As public spaces, they promote knowledge and information, as well as exchange and understanding. Each of the following projects showcases an unique approach to coastal contexts through individual explorations into library design. Together, they show innovative methods to defining new spatial boundaries and embracing maritime design.

Library in Dublin / Carr Cotter & Naessens

© Dennis Gilbert
© Dennis Gilbert

This new addition to the town of Dún Laoghaire, Ireland was made to embrace educational and cultural events shaping the design of the building and the spaces within. The building, the result of an RIAI international competition held in 2007, explores this new approach to library design and offers a mix of intimate and expansive public rooms, places to congregate, or to sit quietly with a book and enjoy the view.

Media Library St Paul / Peripheriques Architects

© Luc Boegly
© Luc Boegly

The new media library structures “the gateway” of Saint-Paul city. Its location choice comes as an urban answer to the need of a strong identity in the landscape scale. This building was made to become a cultural landmark, through information and training, as well as a visual one through its architecture.

Oodi Helsinki Central Library / ALA Architects

© Tuomas Uusheimo
© Tuomas Uusheimo

Oodi occupies a hugely significant site in central Helsinki: facing the steps of the Finnish parliament building, the Eduskuntatalo across the Kansalaistori square, a public space flanked by major civic institutions. The siting of Oodi opposite the Eduskuntatalo was chosen to be symbolic of the relationship between the government and the populace.

Manhattan Beach Public Library / HED and Johnson Favaro

© Eric Staudenmaier
© Eric Staudenmaier

HED worked as executive architect in collaboration with Johnson Favaro on this 21,000 SF, two-story library with panoramic ocean views. HED designed the double façade described below to recover heat gain and reduce maintenance costs. The program also included associated site improvements, access ramps, walkways, landscaping and underground utilities.

Public Library in Ceuta / Paredes Pedrosa

© Fernando Alda
© Fernando Alda

The new Library in Ceuta is conditioned by the steep topography of the plot and by the Arab Marinid archaeological excavation of the XIV century that determine all interior spaces of the Library. Also the lack of space and the compactness of Ceuta, an autonomous Spanish city located on the north coast of Africa on the border of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, condition the proposal.

Kadare Cultural Centre / Chiaki Arai Urban and Architecture Design

© Taisuke Ogawa
© Taisuke Ogawa

This is a complex institution composed of Multiporpose Transforming Theater, Library and Community Center. Originally, this project had two sites sandwiching a road. The team combined sites by placing an indoor “Gathering Steet” which gives access to each function. Its fissure like form lets sunlight into the deep center of the building.

Taltal Public Library / Murúa-Valenzuela

Taltal is a coastal town in the Antofagasta Region, 306 Km. south of the city of Antofagasta and 25.4 degrees latitude south. The project to design the new public library arose from a public competition process petitioned by the Municipality of Taltal in 2008. The new library´s site was a municipal plot, facing Taltal´s central square, and near the recently remodeled Alhambra Theater. 

Seashore Library / Vector Architects

© Xia Zhi
© Xia Zhi

The team envisioned this library as a building quietly sitting on the seashore. From the outside, it looks like a weathered rock that is pure and solid; but inside, what it contains is a range of experiences. When walking into the space, one starts to feel the light, breezes, and sound of the ocean. The library houses a reading area, a meditation space, activity room, a drinking bar and a resting area.

About this author
Cite: Eric Baldwin. "Maritime Design: Rare Coastal Libraries Around the World" 23 Feb 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/954874/maritime-design-rare-coastal-libraries-around-the-world> ISSN 0719-8884

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