Innsbruck sees opening of western Austria's largest research library
Important specifications for the construction of the new University and Regional Library, which was completed in autumn 2009 by Innsbruck-based eck – reiter architects in collaboration with rossman architects, were that the various individual school libraries be amalgamated into one faculty library and that direct access be provided to the existing main library in Baroque Revival style. An additional requirement was that the University and Regional Library be opened up towards the town.
This has been achieved by accommodating the library under a simple platform. The library together with all its facilities extends over a generous area of 4,500 sq m and the platform design ensures that the whole site blends well into the urban fabric. The platform itself is both the roof and the new entrance of the library. Without carrying out constructional changes to the existing building, this opening dramatically changes the spatial and atmospheric situation of the inner courtyard: the direct approach opens up the university to the public and at the same time provides a smooth transition towards the town. The fact that the new 'Forums' is used as a foyer, cafeteria and bookshop brings additional life to the building.
Inside the closed development, the new building can be experienced as a calm, clear and memorable structure. The shape complies with comprehensible geometric principles. The whole is enhanced by stylised wall and floor coverings, the interesting design of thematic displays and the detail in the illumination and furnishings. The functional links can be seen in installations such as light shafts.
The new library is divided into three functional areas: the workplaces are located in the centre grouped around several light shafts. They are enclosed by the bookshelves and the administration. Under the existing tower block there are spaces for the books, newspapers, maps etc. The arrangement of the glass-covered atriums at regular intervals conveys spatial generosity and aids orientation. Daylight from above illuminates all the rooms.