Date of Award
Master in Interior Architecture
Most cultural institutions are housed in one of two kinds of architecture: either to show off the structure or building style or to appreciate the preciousness and identity of the object(s) it contains. The first kind focuses more on the architecture itself, and its function is not defined by the outside appearance. For the second kind, the architecture aims to serve as a support or pedestal, where the form is a result of needs based on different objects contained.
For libraries, architecture should never be the protagonist. Libraries should champion the aura of books, just as museums exhibit their collections. Physical books are not only the media for knowledge, but also nourishment for the mind and witness of history -- they are pieces of art. As a facility that curates collections of both physical and digital resources, it is the library’s mission to make people aware of the greatness of physical books and create spaces for the appreciation of books. Even in the future when technology continues to develop, physical books must still be the one thing that we never abandon, and public libraries are responsible for being at the forefront of defense. Libraries should not simply place books on monotonous shelves; instead, they should be carefully designed to relate back to the essence of the objects within.
The role of the building should define its form. It is not the meaning of the architecture to show off hierarchy or make a broad statement. Instead, architecture should support its contents, in this case physical books, providing spaces that amplify the beauty of the analog, and awaken the ritual of reading. These ideas are demonstrated through intervention within the Fox Point Library of Providence, RI, where a rotated piece of existing building is transformed into a “book mountain”, emphasizing its specialness and hierarchy. Reading lounges and community areas are largely expanded, providing comfortable spaces with natural light and open views.
Wu, Elaine, "The ultimate task of public libraries : introducing architecture as pedestal" (2020). Masters Theses. 556.
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