Yoav Meiri Architects have created an outdoor library for refugees, migrant workers and children
Yoav Meiri Architects in collaboration with Arteam founded The Levinski Garden Library as a social-artistic urban community project. The project believes in the right to a book as a fundamental human right and a chance for both escape and shelter from daily misfortunes.
The library is located in Levinski Park, a place where migrant workers congregate on the weekends. It was important for Yoav Meiri Architects that the library came to the people, that those who maintain illegal immigrant status would come without fear, that the library would not have a closed door or a guard at the entrance who would check and ask questions.
The library has no walls or doors. It is comprised of two bookcases, which are supported by the walls of a public shelter located in the heart of the park. The taller structure contains books for the adult readers. It is transparent and illuminated from within so that at night the books glow in the park.
Across from the bookcase is a shorter, children's height, cabinet. The doors to the small cabinet swing down to form a parquet floor for the children to sit on and review the books. The door of the tall cabinet, open to form a canopy that stretches above the two structures, and provides shelter from the sun and rain, protects the books and the visitors, and establishes a space for browsing, reading and social meetings.
The library contains approximately 3,500 books in 14 languages. The children's cabinet also holds books in Hebrew. The books are not catalogued according to conventions of genre or author name, but according to the feeling they arouse. The library is a small and parallel world: the books wander between the shelves as their readers have wandered or are wandering the world. They carry with them their emotional history.