Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Bibliotheek Zoersel in Belgium by OMEGEVING Architecture
September 15th, 2016 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: OMEGEVING Architecture
The rehabilitation of the site ‘Pleintje’ in Zoersel, where the new library was built, made part of a broader public competition with the aim of revitalizing the entire central area of the town. Standing as a symbol of the town’s ambitions for the entire development, the first step was to construct the public library, located at the town’s square.
The design was an exercise on the perception of scale; the outcome of the library’s design follows from an attempt to balance the large scale function of a public institution and the small scale context of the town itself.
Standing among typical Belgian terraced houses, the architects strove not to disturb the existing urban pattern when creating the library. With this ambition, the volume of the building appears to be subdivided into smaller scale sections that better reflect the local building typology, as opposed to a singular block.
The building is made to appear as if it is a sequence of individual sections, each with its own roof profile and its own identity. Also marking the subdivisions are the large windows that are present at the front and rear of each individual element.
Inside the library, the subdivisions disappear and the library takes on its larger functional scale.
Together, these elements are a reflection of the scaling concept.
A custom selection of standard, raw and glazed black brick was chosen for the library’s facade complimented by a dark anthra-zinc roof.
The interior is painted in a sober white, accented by the revealed wooden ceiling structure.
Custom-designed furniture is placed throughout the library, at designated areas including the reception, the children’s reading room, the group and individual reading areas.
High standard building insulation, high thermal windows and solar panels enable the building to reach a K-value of 31.
Displacement ventilation is used during the day, while natural ventilation occurs at night. Rainwater is stored and reused for flushing toilets.
The solar panels on the roof generate approximately 8.7 KWh of energy annually.
Zoersel is a Belgian town surrounded and infiltrated by a busy highway and transit road. Among the terraced houses is the library, an urban intervention for public space aiming to encompass and symbolize all the public needs required by a town in one. Blending in and standing out, the library is built in brick and its scale refers to that of neighboring buildings. It is distinguished by a dancing roof structure and its black glistening brick facade.
OMGEVING is an independent, multi-disciplinary group of architects, landscape architects, engineers, urban planners, and experts in environmental planning based in Antwerp, Belgium. From a small office of three it evolved over the years into a large enterprise with more than 50 experts, working both for the public sector and the private sector.
In Flemish the word ”OMGEVING” stands for “surroundings” and it stresses the importance of the space around us. It includes the immediate space surrounding oneself, one’s home, one’s neighbourhood, region, and even country.
The designs of OMGEVING are thus consistently trying to explore this overlap of different scales in space, investigating the possibilities for a dialogue between them on cultural, social and environmental levels. Therefore, every project is always perceived as an opportunity to conduct this research, each time bringing not just a singular design but a complete and cohesive strategy for the given context.
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