A mountain of reading

Friday 29 May 2009

MVRDV take the statement to new levels with library design

A new public library, on site at inner Spijkenisse near Rotterdam, will feature the literal translation of 'a mountain of reading' by creating a transparent layer around the book stacking system. With a surface of 10,000 m² the library will use a glass membrane, referred to as the 'bell jar', to make a feature of the contents creating an evolving picture from the outside when books are borrowed, replaced and moved. At the corner of a major throughway, the library, designed by MVRDV will be visible from the central market square and the church opposite.

The library is designed to advertise reading in a region with a statistically low average number of readers. By stacking additional facilities such as offices, meeting rooms and auditorium vertically, terraces of different sizes emerge upon which the book shelves are positioned creating a grand book mountain. The terraces are linked by staircases to form a route that curves around the mountain to the top, where a panoramic view of Spijkenisse awaits.

The exterior of the building refers to a traditional Dutch barn style typology, in shape and choice of with material accents; as a memento to the agricultural history of Spijkenisse Village, now a suburban area of Rotterdam. The glass bell jar is a climate-controlled public space. Solar protection (as used in greenhouses), natural ventilation and an underground heat storage system provide for comfortable conditions all year round. The climate system is a carefully balanced collection of sustainable features which together form an innovative new, highly sustainable system which was nominated for a De Vernufteling award, declaring the library an inventive and resourceful project with social and economical importance.

The new public library is part of a greater scheme for the inner city of Spijkenisse. In order to strengthen and densify the inner city, MVRDV has proposed a series of apartment buildings which reflect the local typology though on a larger scale. The entire new complex including the public spaces will be clad in brick. The result is an extension of the existing pattern and enhancement of the local identity.

Completion of the library and the apartments are expected September 2011.

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