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Heatherwick Studio unveils its first public library with knitted volumes in Columbia
United States Architecture News - Apr 04, 2023 - 12:47 4458 views
Set to be built at the heart of Columbia, the building will also act as a community centre, challenging to the traditional typologies of libraries.
When complete, the building will be the studio’s first public library.
Shaped in a knitted form, the glass volumes are knitted with undulating floor slabs, which introduces an intriguing presence with plant-covered roof.
The project incorporates a climbable façade, where visitors can discover and use the building in multiple levels. Heatherwick's library will be home to a range of services from education spaces to cultural programmes and workspaces.
Designed for Howard County Libraries, the new project "will reflect the changed role of the library," according to the studio, and it will serve a community with a rich heritage of fostering diversity and promoting wellbeing in the city.
Situated at the heart of Columbia, a planned community consistently voted as one of the best places to live in the USA, with this project, Heatherwick plans to change change the typical perception of libraries.
Working with Howard Hughes Company and the Howard County Library team, the studio will "go beyond a simple repository of knowledge and book lending services".
"A centre for the community"
Besides its library function, the new space will act as "a centre for the community" and will become Columbia’s hub for events, learning, and lending of objects of use such as art or tools.
"Columbia has always been driven by a socially radical vision. This legacy inspired us to evolve the traditional library beyond books and into a new type of community centre for broader learning and social exchange," said Stuart Wood, Partner and Group Leader at the Heatherwick Studio.
"A walkable, planted building that emerges from the lakeside landscape will house an amphitheatre for events, play areas and light filled rooms designed for working and learning anything from cooking to IT."
"This will be the community centre everyone in Howard County deserves," Wood added.
Heatherwick is inspired by the vision of James Rouse, the founder of the community who saw ‘cities as gardens for the growing of people’.
Accordign to the studio, "the building will become the truly knit to the neighbourhood both through its facilities and its location."
Set on the city’s main promenade, the library will have panoramic views of Lake Kittamaqundi, the library is also designed to host education and cultural programmes.
Reaching at five storeys, the library will accommodate working spaces and play areas as well as a makers’ lab, teaching kitchen and a café.
The library will feature a spacious double-storey atrium for public events
The building is designed to appear as if it is lifting from the surrounding landscape.
Through its cascading planted staircases weaving across the façade, the library is opened up with a double-storey atrium where the county plans to host a programme of public events.
"Honouring the Rousian vision of respect for nature for the enjoyment and recreation of the city’s residents the building’s many terraces will be richly planted in native plant species," said the studio.
The façade is designed to seamlessly join with the surrounding public park and lakefront thus becoming an integral part the community’s natural gathering and relaxation place.
The library will be open to all county residents and visitors from across the US. Construction of the library is expected to begin in late 2024 with the library opening to the public in 2027.
Heatherwick Studio is working on the transformation of a former desalination plant into a Makers’ Museum in Saudi Arabia. The firm and Harley-Davidson also unveiled plans for a new community park that features a motorcycle hub in Milwaukee, Juneau Avenue Campus in the United States.
All renderings © Devisual.
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