Pineal Architecture

CUBIT Youth Library Saragossa

In collaboration with Christian Schmitz

Model library for young customers in Spain

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“There is no doubt that books will always exist but it is not clear which other media and their spectrum will stand beside them.” 
Rem Koolhaas referring to the new building for the Seattle Public Library that he designed.

"The classical image of a library is still determined by rows of shelves and quiet reading areas. But for young customers a library should also be a place for communication and leisure – but still retain the classical knowledge transfer function. Especially in times where there is varied competition for leisure time it is necessary to create attractions that draw in young people and awaken the interest for a “new” library. Planning a library for young people means – in contrast to the traditional understanding – that customers, instead of media, are the focus of the considerations.

The special interior design and innovative furniture creates clearly arranged rooms where the visitors can use the media available individually or together. The draft designs are not dominated by book shelves – instead they form the framework for subject-led areas and permit generous rooms to be created that provide flexible uses.

Within the framework of a former sugar factory in Spanish Zaragoza, new areas have been defined. In future the building will house a cultural centre within which the library itself will materialise through set up objects. This does not affect the substance of the protected building. Frameless glass will be placed in the window openings to give the building the character of a husk. In the entrance hall an over-dimensional sugar loaf acts as an information board. You move from there into a multi-level, over-dimensional space. A cube as an element produces both the reference to the factory’s former product – sugar – and to the data bit from the digital age. Glass boxes with walls, ceilings and floors made of coloured glass, in which the library users find space to read, make copies and surf, are set in blocks at various locations. This brings together “above” and “below”; all the rooms can be viewed and are open – the visitor moves freely like in cyberspace. The framework box is linked to the “torre” – media tower – by bridges. The media are arranged around an air space over 6 floors. The lower floor of the “tower” is taken up by the library foyer. The air space between the media shelves can be viewed directly above this foyer. The books open and close the air space to external light. If many books have been borrowed the foyer is flooded by light. If the shelves are full the light falls through the gaps between the books."

Christian Schmitz