Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.
Urban Library of the Future and Centre for New Media in Gent, Belgium, 2010 by UNStudio
January 26th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal
UNStudio designed the Urban Library of the Future and Centre for New Media in Gent, Belgium as a competition entry. The two main aims in the design 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. With an 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.
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.
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