Saturday, January 22, 2011

Waalse Krook, Urban Library of the Future by UNSTudio

UNStudio have sent us their entry for Waalse Krook, Urban Library of the Future and Centre for New Media in the Belgian city of Gent. Even though this design by Ben van Berkel/Caroline Bos-led Amsterdam practice was eventually not chosen to be the winning design, we are very excited to share it with you.

Project Description from the Architects:
The two main aims in the design for theUrban Library of the Future and Centre for New Media in Gent are to create a dynamic, flexible and open knowledge environment, whilst simultaneously strengthening the character of the location with the introduction of a building with a distinct architectural identity.
Sustainability is the guiding factor in the design, based on the conviction that not only must the environmental and user-friendly design of the Urban Library of the Future be able to evolve along with new media, but it must also offer the possibility for future change of use. Withan open landscape, spaciousness, extensive views, alternative circulation routes, several meeting areas and a public plaza, the design for the library affords a renewal of its urban context.

The building is both fluid in form and accommodating to its surroundings. This is evidenced by its appearance - which varies according to the orientation - as well as from the decision to lift the building volume above ground level, thereby creating light, transparency and expansive sightlines. However the layered structure and low construction volume ensure that the impact of the design on the urban profile is minimal and that views to the characteristic towers of Gent are preserved. The structure also makes it possible to introduce (green) roof terraces whilst also ensuring low levels of direct sunlight penetration.

Based on the functional organisation the volume is lifted in order to create public space around the Library. In conjunction with the promenade along the quays, this results in interaction with the surrounding water and thereby the revival of the Waalse Krook.

The internal organisation of the building is based on an open central void, around which the circulation takes place. This internal void enhances the spatial experience and creates clear orientation through the building.
In addition to providing an extension of the urban context and the junction of the circulation routes, the internal void also functions as a link between the various functional clusters in the design. The void fulfills a bridging function between the city and the Municipal Library, and as such acts as a metaphor for public perception.
Project Details:

Client: CVBA Waalse Krook
Location: Gent, Belgium
Building surface: 19,498.6 m2
Programme: Library and Centre for New Media
Status: Competition entry

UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos, Gerard Loozekoot with Jacques van Wijk, Wesley Lanckriet and Jordan Trachtenberg, Ren Yee, Wendy van der Knijff , Bartek Winnicki, Aurélie Krotoff, Patrik Noome, Marcin Koltunski, Joerg Lonkwitz, Miguel Noë, Imola Berczi, Elena Scripelliti

Structure: ABT, Antwerp and Netherlands
Installations: ABT, Netherlands
Fire: ABT, Antwerp and Netherlands
Costs: ABT, Antwerp and Netherlands

Local architect: Crepain Binst Architecture, Antwerp
All images courtesy of UNStudio.


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