A CRISS CROSS LIBRARY WITH A ROBOTIC FACADE
The library has been design following the principles of the brief with precision.
In consideration of the requirements, the building is organized in a series of criss-crossing volumes that allow for the 2 basic principles of the design:
- Diversification of the types of spaces so that the user can explore many different ways of using the library and so that the complex set of spaces of the library have the necessary acoustic separation.
- Connection between interior spaces of the library and outdoor spaces thanks to the central position of the open courtyard and the organization of covered and open terraces in between the volumes the cross each other.
This organizational principle allows the “General Public users” to decide in between various “reading situations”:
- In the second floor the user access the library through a ramp and finds the Principal Room of the library, a double height space overlooking the park, with north light entering in between the book boxes of the visible ASRS system placed in between acoustic glass on the North Façade. This space is dedicated to study and general reading on a classic library environment holding a large part of the adult collection.
- Froom the Principal Room, the user can access the third floor through two different stairs. The stair on the West takes the user to the Newspapers and magazines reading space. This room is facing the park, it is acoustically separated from the former, and it can be accessed on other ways via lifts or directly from the Lobby. This room has direct access to covered terraces, one conveniently facing South and the park, the other overlooking the internal courtyard. The stair on the East takes the user to the other nave of the Third Floor which is also acoustically separated. This nave contains a totally different format of library that allows for working in groups, holding meetings and reading, studying, relaxing and collaborating in more homely ways. There are 6 meeting rooms, acoustically separated, common group areas around tables, and a series of “illustrated living rooms” overlooking private terraces with gardens, that allow for a stimulating experience of cultivated discussions, the formation of reading groups, meeting points and informal classroom settings. The terraces rich in vegetation become a beautiful backdrop for intellectual engagement with others. The East nave on third floor is also connected to the terraces corresponding to that floor.
- Finally, there is a “classic-baroque” silent reading room on the Fourth floor. This room can be accessed through a spiral staircase from the Principal Room, two floors below. Of course, it is accessible through lifts and conventional stairs too. This is a reading space holding floor to ceiling bookshelves, a dark wooden floor, and a beautiful open view towards the park. This Nave has access to the East and West terraces of the fourth floor
The First and second Floors of the building act mainly as public areas, both open and enclosed, for various activities. The first floor, in continuation with the level of the main street, connects towards the East to the park, creating an open cantilevered space under the building. Also, the area of the Main street connects to the park on the South side of the plot by going up a level, but always being able to see through the transparent glass the park that is behind. The first floor is organized as an open space for the city, that can be gated or not according to future conversations with the client, but that can be open as a “living room” for the city. It is also a “social condenser”, which can hold public activities of many types, using opportunistically the various possibilities of merging or separating open, semi-covered and fully enclosed spaces, creating a highly flexible environment that would allow for many different events. The multipurpose room, with ancillary spaces, is placed on this level. On the west, overlooking the park, is the Book café, that can be open and closed according to the seasons. There is a café terrace in close connection to the park, covered partially by the building. This space will be buzzing with activity, and will really help to connect socially and experientially the users of the park with the new building. It is important to note that the quality of food, beverages and service pf the book café will be an important asset of the library. On the back to the South, there are Culture Classrooms and a creative production space. On this floor there is room to expand the Cultural program in many ways, something that can evolve with time but that the building, as it has been designed, allows for future growth and adaptation. The cental area of the open courtyard is both a garden and an open air theatre holding stands that would allow for 200 people venues, where multimedia projections, concerts, book reviews and so on can take place. This space can be intelligently adapted to be used under bad weather by hanging temporary structures from the upper terraces. Also, the space under the North nave of second floor provides for a large space for large venue activities.
On the Second floor there is the main entrance to the library. It is accessible for disabled via a ramp and also through a space on the First Floor that connects the courtyard area with an accessible lift on the South. In this floor, to the East, there is an integrated information desk with a checkout, return & registration facility, together with space for cataloguing 7000 books and Staff offices and rest area. On the west there is a system of circulation that will be mainly used by “back of house” workers, connecting to the ASRS management room and both horizontally and vertically to the different reading rooms information desks. An intelligent use of the lifts will allow for a highly efficient back of house system of circulation connecting all floors.
On the West of the Second floor, there is an access to the Principal Reading room via a Ramp overlooking the park.
There is also a separate connection to the Multimedia stations and creative studios situated on the south Nave of the fourth floor. This nave can be accessed directly form the lobby through a spiral staircase, and of course through a lift and a set of conventional stairs. This nave is connected to the East and West terraces of the fourth floor.
The children library is placed on the 5th Floor, and it can be accessed directly from the lobby, using a spiral staircase but also a conventional stair and a lift. The children library is also divided in two naves, the first one on the West, overlooking the park, dedicated to the children´s collection with reading spaces and a storytelling room. The East nave is dedicated to younger children, holding materials for playing, learning and reading too. It also holds nursing area, a family restroom, stroller space and a program room for children. Both naves are acoustically independent from the rest. Both naves have access to two terraces, one looking South and the park, and another looking to the courtyard, situated on the North. These terraces can hold intensive activity all year long as they are covered and can be intelligently prepared to be used in winter too. Children and family areas also expand on the 6th floor terraces, which are dedicated to them and can be accessed from the South spiral staircase and also from lifts and conventional stairs.
Administrative spaces are mostly placed on the 6th Floor. On the North level, overlooking the street, there are the Administration offices and ancilliary spaces. On the South nave it has been allocated the necessary spaces for mechanical and electrical systems, dominating the space will be air treatment units. On the East and West sides of 6th Floor there are 2 large open terraces, West overlloking the park, and East dominating the views along the main street. The West terrace is a children´s playground, a place for picninc and open air theatre and music activities. The East terrace has been planned to become a sun deck, a place to read on the sun, sun bathe and also relax, more oriented to youngsters. Special treatment to the glass safety barriers will be necessary. Both terraces will have many plants and trees on movable pots, so as to configure shadows when necessary, and according to user needs.
The roof of naves of 6th Floor will have extensive dedication to solar Photovoltaic Panels integrated on the roof.
The parking is in basement 1 and holds 46 parking spaces, including 3 disabled positions.
We propose that the ASRS becomes a very special feature of this building by placing it in the main façade of the street. The system is to be placed in a glass chamber so that it can be visible from the exterior and from the interior. The ASRS system will allow for reflected light, proper of the North Façade, to enter through it into the main library spaces, creating a sophisticated titillating effect on the interior. Also, the robotic system, running at high speed, will also be visible from the interior and the exterior.
We have had extensive conversations with manufacturers of ASRS system, and we propose two options.
- Option 1
Compact stack of boxes with robots running on top- telelift system, with a maintenance corridor on one side.
- Option 2
Separated stack of boxes in two separate structures, allowing for a robot travelling on a vertical axis to access the boxes of books on its both sides- the vertical mast system, with a maintenance and operation corridor on the middle.
Both systems are highly developed industrial systems and both are feasible under the design parameters that we have envisaged. A further discussion with client will allow for one or the other system to be implemented.