Student(s): Kristina Bertocchi
Instructor(s): Karen Lewis
Course: ARCH 4410: Architectural Design V
Term: Autumn 2015

Project Focus: Re-envisioning the definition of a library to create an amenity relevant in the 21st century, located in London, England.

Throughout the world, especially Great Britain, libraries are shutting down. Within the last five years 200 libraries in Great Britain have closed and the amount is expected to double within the next 5. This brings up the question: How are Libraries relevant in the culture of today when essential uses of books are on the decline and information is all around us? Based off this question, I have proposed a new definition for a library that is dependent on the promotion of all levels of learning. The variables that are needed to promote this learning is quiet, individual environment, open, collaborative environment and public access to information but is not dependent on a site or even walls. This new idea of a “Cloud” library that is throughout and within the city came to life in the form of mobile pavilions that interact with the entire extent of the city of London.

A paradox I have noticed is that as information increases all around us books actually become more rare and hence, more valuable. Because of this I have set up a process of rotating curated display books that provide each pavilion with a physical display of some topic of interest. For example a pavilion that discusses 15th century architecture could in Nottinghill next week. These pavilions also fulfill the role of having both environments and being publicly accessible. The public would interact with the pavilions in three ways. Firstly, a rotation of the pavilions would occur on predetermined spots throughout the city. This option is scripted and allows for some planned experiences by the citizens. Secondly, the pavilions have been interwoven in the transportation infrastructure of the city. They are not only part of the bus routes but also take advantage of the underground system of the tube. This means that Londoners could have the option of riding the library to work. And finally, the pavilions have a meeting ground on the assigned site where they can plug into the main hub library or congregate in a variety of ways for a variety of purposes. I imagine that one could even reserve them in advance for certain events.

This minimum definition of a library, in pavilion form, is then positioned against the argument of what a library can be, or how the library can give back to Londoners in today’s world. The hub not only collects the pavilions but also exemplifies the twisting of all levels of learning. The library has different circulation areas based on type of visitor with an emphasis on the quick guest on the move. The great wall on the first floor provides everything needed for a quick visit and a moment of composer for busy people. For example a visitor can enter the library quickly get on a computer, check the news or their email, check out a curated row of rare books that are based on trending history interest of the week, charge their phone, grab a coffee and be on their way.

In conclusion, although there is a decline of the traditional library, I believe that the need for the promotion of learning is essential. If we simply shift the definition of a library from a building that holds information or worse holds books, to a building that has a relevant place in London culture, the library will thrive.