A library is not an object or a building. It is an institution compiled of spaces with collections reflecting our contemporary society and our common heritage. These collections are made available to a library public through those at all times relevant media and hard ware contained within these spaces.
The library public however, is not a unified quantity, but rather a term defining the collective use of the library by individuals of different age, with different cultural backgrounds, with individual needs, interests, curiosity and social interaction. Such a dual relationship, between the collective and the individual, distinguishes the library from those spaces only entertaining their public with a collective experience, such as cinemas, theatres, concerts and other arenas.
- In the library many will read some text at the same time, but very few, if any, will read the same text.
- Many will listen to music at the same time, but very few will listen to the same music.
- Many will use a personal computer at the same time, but very few will be looking at the same website.
- At the same time many will meet to talk, eat and drink, listen to a performance or gather around a four player game station.
An important challenge for contemporary and future libraries will therefore be to enhance both the nature of social collective experiences within its spaces as well as the conditions for individual activities.
This may be defined as the future potential of the inherent relationship between the singular and the plural in the library.
Thus, the library simulates society as a whole, operates in real time and maintains a one to one relationship to its users.
In the case of the main space for the Deichmanske library these observations might be especially relevant. Firstly, the Deichmanske emphasises its institutional presence by consisting of many buildings and spaces in different locations in Oslo. Secondly, it is a public library with widely different users during different times of the day.
This proposal therefore portrays the library as a public, interior space, generated by the complex relationship of singular and plural needs of the users rather than the specificity of its exterior shape. The variety of white, translucent shapes and forms describing this space are continuous and organic, only physically, not visually, limited by the two vast transparent surfaces separating indoor from outdoor, ending the exterior rectangular tube towards east and west. Two elements organise this vivid space: the spine and the slightly arched public floor bridging along south and north.
In contrast to this interior the simple, horizontal boxlike exterior describes the library as a living organism, thus emphasising the intention of a non-object. It is a hybrid of structure and different climbing plants, generating an ever-changing green skin throughout the seasons, projecting light reflections of green into the interiors.
This non specific appearance focuses the importance of the interior and lets the exterior expression of the library, observed from continuously changing positions of the eye, become an intimate, park like backdrop to the white marble of the Norwegian Opera and Ballet and an enhanced outdoor green space within the urban setting of other neighbouring buildings.
Thus, the proposal suggests the Deichmanske main library to be a space rather than an object and an institution rather than a building.
And should you want to read, do it under the green canopy of leaves
The Deichmanske main library will be located on one of Oslo’s most attractive city centre sites, with a high level of visibility within the urban setting and from the fjord. Bjørvika will become Oslo’s new cultural hub, with the Opera House, new main library and the forthcoming Munch-Stenersen museum all in close proximity to each other. There has been a risk that Bjørvika could become an arena where these important architectural elements fight for attention, creating visual conflict and imbalance.
The library will provide a public service and will promote social and cultural equality. It is important that the architecture of the library reflects this.
If one puts the question: what does this area of the city need, or what can be offered to this urban setting? The answer is quite clear; a green urban lung! Our concept is therefore to create the library as a green INTERMEZZO. The garden as a metaphor works as well within the context of Oslo’s city planning as it does within the competition brief. A garden is a place where one can gather and harvest, where one can wander and find a variety of places to sit or to pause. The library garden will be a place for reflection, application, finding new knowledge and experience. Open and enclosed, in gatherings or alone, with others in common tasks. We want to design the library as a lush garden, offering everyone a beautiful space within the city.
The library’s architectonic expression is muted and softened by its green covering, emphasizing in turn the glazed entrance façade and the interior volume beyond. The library becomes the simple, calm green clad box contrasting the hard and precise lines of its neighbours.
The gentle elevation of the library’s floor as a curved arc marks the beginning of the transition in the sequence from the major urban space between Oslo Central station and the Opera House. Entering the space there are diverse ways of using the areas; a place offering everything to everyone.
The spectacular interiors invite participation in different activities. The huge space encloses all these activities and the Spine divides the space into two: the larger noiser open public terraces to the south and the more introspective reference zones to the north. Below the curved arc there are public related activities directly accessible from street level.
To acquire knowledge most educational institutions require some proof of former achievement. In a public library this requirement does not exist. The entry threshold is low. There is no demand in relation to intellect or ambition. The only requirements are that you are interested, that you dare to take part and that you can find your way up along the arc and in through the generous openings.
The Library as part of the cityscape
The Deichmanske Main Library will be an important attractor to populate this part of Bjørvika. The site, as laid out in the zoning plan, can be seen as part of a continuous sequence of city spaces stretching from Karl Johans gate via the Opera common and eastward to Akerselva and the forthcoming Munch and Stenersen collection museum. By considering the Deichmanske Main Library as an institution, rather than as a building, one can then begin to envisage it as a part of the urban fabric of the city. Accordingly movement within the library will be affected by happenings in the city space and vice versa.
The green library will constitute an important part of this continuous sequence, as a lively green park and an intermission in the urban space.
The Library in relation to the Opera House
A major challenge in relation to the library’s location is its proximity to the new Opera House. We have chosen to let the Opera House continue to play the dominant architectonic role; its stature and eclected monumentality confirmed against the green organic softness of the library’s long facades, which act as both foreground and background to the Opera roofscape. The library’s green and soft motif contrasts with the strict lines of the Opera House and its architectural expression of white marble surfaces.
In this new relationship between the two institutions appears a counterbalancing interdependency, allowing them to both coexist and maintain their own purity of expression in the eyes of the viewer.
Soft - Hard
Green - White
Inside, within - Upon/on top
Background - Monumental
Summer inside in the winter - Winter outside in the summer
The library’s curving Base, its primary activity surface, contains a series of chiselled out terraces of varying size, shape and thematic content. Its longitudinal pathway is punctuated by a series of landings inviting entry onto these surfaces, with their varying quality, atmosphere and functionality.
The interior will reflect the library’s aim of being a place where everyone can feel at home. An inclusive environment offering guidance, knowledge, inspiration and facilities for all manner of visitors. Alone and together -together and alone.
Such an interior must possess variety in functional offer, atmosphere, display and reference media and in its choice and use of materials. But in order not to overload the senses there must be clarity in the disposition of elements within the major volume. The answer to this need was the introduction of the Spine. It acts to divide the Base and will be explained in greater depth further on.
The sculptured, carved nature of the Base is reflected in its surface material of massive hardwood planks. These warm, tactile surfaces invite touch and response. This landscape of massive wooden elements is further modelled to provide steps along the southern façade linking the different terraced levels.
These divisions in height offer the opportunity of creating both fixed and mobile seating, study areas, benches, shelving, magazine racks, and storage volumes. This utilization of a common material provides a homogeneous theme for the Base, but at the same these fixed or mobile components can be moved and changed or modified allowing flexibility of use and format. Thus, the number of books made available in any one space can be changed as required.
The Spine will be the knowledge and access matrix serving the library. It is here most of the available collection will be stored. It will be both a full height directional element and a flexible modular framework stretching along almost the full length of the main library volume. Its scale an appropriate response to both the needs and the size of the main space. Openings in the Spine at its lowest level facilitate cross communication to the different themed terraces along the arced surface of the Base. The bookshelf structure is the library’s services and communication Spine, allowing display, access, interaction, storage and movement.
Users will be offered the opportunity for study, stimulation, inspiration, time out, and reflection. The Spine will facilitate vertical and horizontal communication at all levels within the library for visitors and staff, employing all forms of information media. Staff will have dedicated lifts going all the way down to their sorting area.
The service modules (WC, lifts, escalators etc.) within the matrix/Spine will be fixed, but the other module types can be moved, changed or reinvented. These might be study booths, quiet rooms, bookshelf assemblies, open sitting spaces, copying rooms or what ever the future demands of the library might require.
The spine will have an outer skin of translucent coloured panels, these could become a collective artwork involving different groups associated with the library. The panels will be used for information display and artistic expression.
The books that are not stored on the Base will have a highly visible location on the Spine. Books will sit on traditional bookshelves located within the Spine’s modular framework. Placement, orientation, solid, void, open or closed. The library staff can format the Spine as they see fit.
External decks allow visitors and staff to move along the outer edges of the Spine accessing its whole circumference. Glazed balustrades maintain same transparency, while a continuous worksurface offers flat and upright reference space. Lighting is located on the underside of the decks above.
The Spine is highly configurable, within the bounds of its modular dimensions (B=3200mm, H=3400) and its available footprint. Its form will ultimately follow its configured functional format. The decks at the ends of the Spine are currently left clear as vantage points from which to view and to contemplate.
Reception desks are located at either end of the Spine, while user information access points for both staff and visitors can be placed at almost any point within the matrix of the Spine.
As a visitor to the library you will gain a remarkable reward when you challenge yourself to get to the top of the spine – here you will find views down onto the entire volume of the vast main library space.
The main volume encompasses all principal library functions. The Spine as the main guiding element reaches up to and fuses with the softly undulating ceiling. This membrane surface is the isolating layer between the main interior volume and the exterior canopy of leaves.
The ceiling gives a sense of movement and flowing waves above the Base. A response to the cocooning of quieter functional volumes between the inner and outer skins at the highest levels on either side of the Spine. So those who require a greater degree of seclusion and quiet than that found on the Base can journey up to the spectacular reading floors on the 4th and 5th levels on the north side of the Spine.
Like the non lending administration wing on the 5th floor leading across to the southern facade, these volumes offer views downward to the Base and out to the north and south through the canopy of enveloping leaves. The unique character of these hidden volumes emphasizes the layering of space and function within and beyond the main volume.
The ceiling is built up with an independent framing system covered with a light transmitting transparent membrane (Barrisol or similar). Natural light filters through to the main volume casting shadows and green reflections from the exterior. This membrane, in association with openings in the building’s outer surface, will allow natural light levels in the library to be controlled and modified throughout the day and the year.
All high level technical service routes will be hidden above the ceiling. Primary service routing will occur above the Spine for ease of access.
The simple form of the main library volume emphasizes the importance of and focus upon the interior of the library. The green canopy of leaves cloaks this volume providing an almost anonymous foreground or backdrop to surrounding buildings, and in particular to the Opera House. This green lung will be achieved by means of hardwood frameworks supporting growing, climbing plants providing cover and shelter, with glimpses of a high-tech interior drawing visitors and passers by ever closer.
The green box is cut along the sightline towards the Opera. The cut reveals the inner life in the box; the main façade as a screen towards the city.
The library cladding will consist of two layers of plants:
- Vegetation on the façade
- Dedicious and evergreen Climbing vegetation on the outer espaliered façade.
The innermost green façade system will be built up using a pre-fabricated moss panel system that contains all the nutrition, soil and irrigation needed to maintain the moss growing on the surface. The outer green wall system will be built up using wooden espaliers with climbing plants growing out of integrated facade planters.
The panels will consist of lightweight metal frames, woven textiles and soils carefully chosen to fit the specific moss type chosen. The panels are easy to demount for maintenance and replacement. The panels will use a built-in irrigation system to maintain the correct soil moisture levels. The outer layer of plants on climbing frames provide a good acclimatized zone for the moss. The green wall will stabilize the temperature changes in the wall, thus providing an energy efficient façade solution.
Norwegian botanical expertise will be used in order to find the right species off moss from the more than 1000 indigenous types found in Norway. There are a wide variety of different moss species and habitats in Norwegian nature; from the southern moss types living in warmer forests environs, to the more extreme types living in the mountains. Moss types will be chosen in relation to their climatic preferences, texture, appearance and colour to best fit the colour and texture palette off the building.
There are a few places in the northern hemisphere where moss has been used as a cladding material, either on the whole or parts of buildings. Two off the better known examples are the City hall in Reykjavik, Iceland, and the aquarium in Vancouver, Canada.
The outer layer off the exterior wall will be built up using wooden espaliers and climbing plants as shown in the diagram above.
The climbing plants will be a combination of perennials and ivy evergreens.
These plants vary quite a lot in terms of how much they will be able to cover, and there will be combinations of all the types in the integrated facade planters. There will be a combination of ivy evergreens, seasonal changing dedicious climbers and evergreen shrubbery in the planters along the façade.
The main climbing plants will be used in combinations according to their climatic preferences and properties:
The roof will be planted with a combination off sedum mats, vines and grass. The vines and the sedum are both well known groundcovers, in Norway, while the Blue Lyme grass, known both from Iceland, Norway and around the world, grow well in extreme habitats as this roofscape will be. They need no maintenance.
The interior green areas will be focused around the children’s games and playing area. These plants will be chosen from species that originate from climatic zones that are close to the stabile indoor climate the library will offer.
The main groups will be Citrus trees, groundcovers and grass like bushes. They are all evergreens and need to be concentrated in groups to be able to control the irrigation, maintenance, light conditions and humidity around them.
The Library’s glazed entrance facade to the west offers the two main public entry situations. Entry occurs at ground floor level on the northern end of this facade, leading to all the public functions under the Base. The Base provides a route up over the Base and it is also an access point through the façade, leading directly into and onto the main library floor.
The visual display Screen, be it a TV, laptop or mobile phone, is most people’s main visual communication port. If the library is the sitting room, then this large open facade is the Oslo’s shared communication Screen, displaying much of the library’s content and potential offer.
Here one can literally look into the inner being and life of the library and of it`s knowledge content. The Screen displays constantly changing living pictures. Lighting levels change and adjust around the clock in the staging of this show. The library’s surroundings are mirrored in the Screen projecting a continual stream of images out towards the city signalling invitation and the presence of the city’s most accessible knowledge hub. One can stand before the Screen and contemplate, observe and regard its totality, or enter through the Screen to become a part of the performance in all its complexity. To regard and to be regarded is part of one’s existence within the urban context. The Screen and its display portals mark the interface with the city in this urban arena inviting each individual to participate.
Beurteilung durch das Preisgericht
Liegt nicht vor.