MID REVIEW — ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGY
“At the moment when the electronics revolution seems about to melt all that is solid — to eliminate all necessity for concentration and physical embodiment — it seems absurd to imagine the ultimate library” — Rem Koolhaas
Questioning the need for a library in an age where technology is overtaking physical institutions was the impetus for the design. This proposal shifts the focus of the library and directs it towards creating a public space in the much needed Bowery neighborhood. Extending the park that exists along Chrystie Ave. to the building itself, where people can enjoy the spiral that was left as void from the movement of rotating blocks, as a place to sit, walk and lounge while reading or socializing. When the library is viewed as a public space for tourists and New Yorkers, it attracts them even more. Maybe a person was not planning of going to the library but the fact that he or she came to experience the public space it gives greater opportunity for them to enter and use the library as an intellectual institution.
The spiral creates a connection with the users. The field of vision is expanded to reach multiple floors. This instigates a sense of interaction, a sense of publicity in a building that is otherwise thought to be completely private.
An additional visual experience exists in the exterior of the library as well. Where depending on the direction of travel of a passerby one can be either exposed to the users on the spiral or those who are within the interior library spaces. So one can understand the building to be a public space for lounging and socializing, or if you happen to come on the opposite side, then you might understand the building to be solely a library. The two uses are juxtaposed and challenged by each other.
Material choices curate the exposeure of the spaces. Complete transparency (glass) is used in the facade solely on the tringular-shaped cantilevers and in the interior on the walls that do not touch any ground floor (sides that do not have an entry point, which are usually study or book stack spaces). Translucency is used in the facade on the walls that are not cantilevered. Opaque (concrete) is used in the interior walls that do touch ground with the level below (walls that have entry point)
Floor plans are manipulated to fit the programmatic needs. The program is organized around the spiral. The public spiral is located right at the corner, so one must pass through it in order to enter the interior spaces of the library. People can also circulate through the spiral as part of their commute whitout ever intending to enter it. The corner is left as void to improve circulation around it, since it is the busiest corner of the intersection. As one enters the interior, the user is met with a reception area and a reading space, and a Cafe along the sidewalk. Reading spaces are always placed next to bookstacks for a quick grab and read experience. Reading spaces are always located along the front of the building in order to create a space that is lit with natural light and to expose the spaces to the people passing by on the street. Diagonals gradually enclose the space to suggest a more private environment for reading and studying.
Service spaces are located on the side of the buildings to avoid intrusion with the public space. The auditorium is at the top floor, next to the restaurant. By placing them at the top it allows the people to experience a nice view of the city while eating or watching a show or lecture in the auditorium.
The plan is also manipulated to craft a circulation experience as one progresses through the different floors and spaces of the library. It is based on a circular movement around it, rather than merely remaining on a certain side of the building.