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The Depository

Part 1 Project 2009
Mariska Schreuder
University of Greenwich, UK
The Depository

‘Things which aren’t books but are often met with in libraries
Photographs in gilded brass frames, small engravings, pen and ink drawings, dried flowers in stemmed glasses, matchbox holders containing, or not, chemical matches (dangerous), lead soldiers, a photograph…, postcards, dolls eyes, tins, packets of salt, pepper and mustard from Lufthansa, letter-scales, picture hooks, marbles, pipe cleaners, scale models of vintage cars, multicoloured pebbles and gravel, ex-votos, springs.’ Georges Perec, ‘Species of Spaces’

Less frequently met with in libraries:

A comfortable sofa, a three piece suite, snacks and drinks, a dining table set for 4, a kitchen with a well stocked fridge, a living room with a terrace, an ensuite bathroom with your own towels, a bedroom with built in wardrobe, a selection of shoes and overcoats, a birdcage, a smoking terrace equipped with plants and a view of the sea, unfoldable desks, unfoldable bridges, a pool with steps, water seats, high tide, bicycles, prefabricated dwelling units with a choice of exterior and interior finishes, the book you were actually looking for.

Having identified these shortcomings in the design of libraries, I have attempted to solve the problem; and design a more satisfactory library.

Mariska Schreuder

The Depository

‘I alone have more memories than all mankind has probably had since the world has been the world’. And again: ‘my dreams are like you peoples waking hours.’ And again, towards dawn: ‘my memory, sir, is like a garbage heap. (Borges, Labyrinths)

The pleasure of finding a book in a library comes more from the discovery of an unexpected title than from the efficient find.
Mariska starts with the problem of the lost book and how it may migrate through the library classifications, resulting in strange literary encounters. These encounters at the scale of the object are then persued as spatial encounters at the scale of the institution. She imagines a library is discovered in an apartment block, as if it were a lost book. Her ‘Depository’ is not so much a place of order, but a place for unexpected opportunities and pleasures. Her library shifts from public to intimate space and back, as can happen in the chapters of a book or the scenes in a film, but rarely happens so abruptly in buildings. Walls and other physical boundaries normally separating the institution from the domestic realm are replaced with ‘unfoldable bridges’, ‘unfoldable desks’ and walk-in-wardrobes. Narratives keep shifting, beds slide into walls, walls become seats and desks.

This is a process of constructive collision played out with architectural rigour. It is a clash of the mundane with the extraordinary, the library and the apartment becoming a sequence of spaces for adventure.

Architecturally, constraints are converted into possibilities by allowing a certain level of permeability between programmes.
We enjoyed playing Mariskas’ geometrical game where behaviour in a bookshelf is explored in a building: such that the behaviour of spaces and objects intermingle.

Mr Francois Girardin

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