[Image: View of LLLibrary across public square]
NYC-based REX has been named the winner of the recent BibLLLiotheek competition to design the ‘Library of the Future’ for the city of Kortrijk, Belgium. The city called for a design that combined the functions we expect from a traditional library with those of a ‘Life-Long Learning Center’, while also finding a way to incorporate the city’s Music Center [which is already existing, on an adjacent site].
The desire for holistic education is often undermined by dividing learning into separate institutions. Typically, media-based learning is assigned to libraries; instructor-based learning is delegated to schools, and practice-based learning is monopolized by performance venues. REXs LLLibrary aims to heal these divisions by weaving together the cumulative human and technological intelligence of the Library, the Life-Long Learning Center and the Music Center.
[Image: Night view of LLLibrary]
The proposed site for the library was originally located beside the Music Center, blocked from the Casinoplein [the public square seen in the images] – competition participants were expected to somehow link the newly created building to the Center, making it an ‘equal partner’. REX’s first move was to suggest that the library combine with the Music Center, creating one building that would house all these programs – and would overlook/connect with the square. The land originally set aside for the library project could then be developed commercially, helping to fund the public LLLibrary. The Music Center’s existing auditorium spaces will remain, reused by the new building.
[Image: Diagram showing program distribution]
The library itself is essentially a ribbon, which coils around a central atrium space as it spirals upwards. The three distinct programs – library [stacks], life-long learning center, and music center – are organized along/within this ‘ribbon’ so as to interconnect the different spaces while also making them easily distinguishable from one another. Rex achieves this by locating the more private/contained spaces needed for the life-long learning center and music center within the ‘ribbon’ itself, while placing the library stacks on the ‘roof’ of the ribbon, so that the stacks appear to be located in the spaces between the coiling volume [see diagram, and night rendering – above].
[Image: Interior view across atrium space]
While creating continuous connections between the varying programs, this ‘ribbon’ also suggests a certain ‘lightness’ from within the atrium space – as if these volumes are floating around the stacks to enclose the library space.
[Image: Model photo, showing LLLibrary relationship to public square]
::all images + info courtesy Galloway Media Group / REX::