The design solution takes its inspiration from the competition’s brief and from the site. The large, open area of the project site provides the opportunity to join the neighboring residential, commercial, industrial and waterfront areas. Creating crossing pedestrian paths that reach into the adjacent territories will put the library/cultural center at the heart of the community with accessibility by all.
A central library and cultural center is, by definition, a repository of knowledge and a place of artistic expression. Our concept metaphorically interprets this definition by expressing the programme in the building’s massing and exterior elevations. Described below are ideas governing the library, cultural centre and public realm which constitute the project’s three, primary, interconnected building elements.
The verticality of a book on a shelf, and shelving stacks on a floor exist behind the narrow, vertical fenestration of the southern building block. The horizontality of people moving, creating and animating their spaces exist behind the horizontal fenestration of the northern building block.
The tall, slender triangular prism provides the connection between programmatic elements and connects the city to the headquarters. Here is located the primary entry, primary vertical circulation, public bookstore, historic clock displays (including the exterior clock tower) and direct access to the adjacent art gallery and cafeteria.
The black glass rectilinear volumes serve several functions. The Larger of the two, protruding from the southern library block contains the various public assembly areas required in the library programme, including the main reading room. This form also provides a direct connection to the cultural center.
The smaller black glass volume, buried within the cultural center building block contains the art gallery and is linked to the building’s main entry point and vertical circulation.
Lastly, the entire structure is wrapped in a high-performance double curtain wall. Though the primary objective is the passive heating and cooling of the project, it aesthetically provides a luminous foreground to the deep-set punctures of the vision glass panels. The muted colors help distinguish the various functional categories while creating a subtly glowing cultural beacon in the very heart of the newly connected community.