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Cork Library Multi-Media Centre

Part 2 Project 2005
Floris De Bruyn
WENK Sint Lucas Brussels BRUSSELS Belgium
The library as a place where mutual encounter can lead to understanding.
Umberto Eco.

Let’s start with the questioning of the library’s function in our present society. And foremost: what will the library’s function be like in the future?
In the future a library will have to counterbalance the fleetingness of digital media. As a building it will have to give an answer to the lack of space these media occupy. A refuge where people find signposts in the digital chaos.
The library remains the place where knowledge is tangible matter, where people can indulge in an atmosphere of wooden shelves and the musty air of heaps of paper. Hence a tower as the modern version of J. Luis Borges’ Babylonian library. Knowledge is almost literally materialized in the building.
Apart from that it should be a nice place where people like to come and read the newspaper, where they enjoy the quiet comings and goings, or where they can find someone to talk to. By reserving the ground floor for public activities, barriers are taken down as much as possible. The extra public space can be used for events and entertainment, creating an attractive stage for the library which in its turn is involved in the local theatre scene. In order to provide a natural connection to the city life a monumental staircase is built as entrance to the actual library which is situated on the first floor.
The design of the building is only the initial phrase of a book that is yet to be written. The users of the library are taking part in the writing of the story. In that sense the tower is seen as a mystic element that prompts people to start dreaming, thinking, reading…

Floris De Bruyn

Floris De Bruyn took the challenge to design ‘a library for the future’. For the city of Cork he developed a building evoking very adequately the cultural importance of a city library; not only as a building of knowledge, but also as a building where the imagination invites visitors in a romanesque way to ‘read’ the architecture and the city. The quality of this design lays in the subtle integration of the autonomous program of the library in a complex, historical centre. The well-defined materialisation, rhythms and textures turn the library into an intelligent and well-mastered architectural ‘essay’.

prof. architect Koen Van Synghel

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