6 delightful tiny library designs from around the world

March 22, 2017 by  
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Children and adults can now check out books for free from tiny libraries in over 50,000 neighborhoods in 70 different countries. Some libraries are built with sustainable materials , some consider height differences between kids and grownups, while others are just plain fun. The organization behind these free exchanges, Little Free Library , recently held a Little Free Library Design Competition that drew an astonishing 300 designs from 40 countries. Check out the winners after the jump. Friendly Owlie library has eyes that glow at night Owls are commonly associated with wisdom. So an owl outline offered the perfect shape for Bartosz Bochynski’s tiny library, called Owlie. Bochynski, who is of design studio FUTUMATA in London , England, said Owlie could be constructed with affordable, sustainable materials and lit with LED lights . The friendly little library can hold around 40 tomes, some of which can be seen through the owl’s eyes which light up at night. Owlie was the judge’s choice in the competition. Related: Little Free Library: Tiny House-Shaped Boxes Let You Take a Book or Leave One Sleek little library with removable parts allows for easy customization Seth Thompson of San Francisco , California designed a little library designed for effortless rearranging. With a removable plexiglass door and shelves, the little library could accommodate a hanging flower planter, according to Thompson, and stewards can write on the door with dry-erase markers. Snøhetta San Francisco, one of the competition’s judges, described Thompson’s library as iconic, earning him the judge’s choice runner-up award. Flat-packed library is easy to assemble and includes a seat Chronicle Books , who partnered with Little Free Library for the competition, picked two winners, stipulating their choices had to weigh no more than 42 pounds, be able to be flat-packed , and be built with environmentally friendly materials. They picked Rachel Murdaugh and Clark Nexsen from Asheville, North Carolina as the winners. Nexsen and Murdaugh’s flat-packed library assembles simply and comes with instructions and hardware. It even includes a seat so patrons can peruse books before checking them out. Geometrical library assembles with just a hammer and screwdriver Lea Randebrock of Lahti, Finland nabbed the runner-up prize from Chronicle Books with this flat-packed library than can be set up onsite with a screwdriver and hammer. Randebrock said the design is intended for serial production, allowing for more tiny libraries. The Chronicle Books team noted they loved the surprise shelving inside the modern little library. Earthy Tree of Knowledge draws inspiration from nature The Little Free Library staff and founder also chose a winner and runner-up, with the help of votes from the whole Little Free Library community. Ryo Otsuka and Lin Zihao of CIRCLE in Tokyo, Japan claimed the prize with their nature -inspired Tree of Knowledge. They said they aimed to emphasize the origins of paper, a primary element of books , in their tree design. Little library in Ohio transforms into community center The 4th Street Farms Little Free Library is more than just a design concept; it’s already a fixture of its Columbus, Ohio neighborhood and has morphed into a mini community center offering a Little Food Pantry alongside books. Mural elements from local artists adorn the library, and varying shelf heights allow patrons of all ages to explore offerings. Motion sensor lighting brightens the space day or night. Nine honorable mentions include designs from Germany, China, Italy, and Ireland, to name a few. They include one shaped like a big chunk of cheese, one designed for beach use, and one inside a floating pavilion. Flip through Inhabitat’s gallery to see more of the clever designs! + Little Free Library Via Chronicle Books Images courtesy of Little Free Library

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6 delightful tiny library designs from around the world

World’s first library of ice in Siberia is filled with crowd-sourced content

February 10, 2017 by  
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Although most people look for a cozy warm corner to curl up with a good book, a Russian town has opened the world’s first outdoor ice library , filled with crowd-sourced content. Located on the edge of the frozen Lake Baikal in Baikalsk, (southern Siberia), the magical “ice library of wonders” is made up of 200 tons of ice blocks molded into a labyrinth with short phrases etched into the walls. https://youtu.be/_EWAkuc3QwQ The project was a creative idea by the local tourism bureau, “Last year we announced we would create the Ice Library of Wonders, and asked people to send us their dreams and wishes.” local tourism head and ice librarian Maxim Khvostishkov told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. Soon, the project began receiving quotes from people from all over the world. To date, over 1,000 phrases have been carved into the ice structure ‘s 420 “books” in various languages, English, Chinese, Korean, etc. Related: Sweden’s new ICEHOTEL 365 uses solar cooling to stay open all year-round Although the ice structure is a beautiful statement of community-sourced literature, unfortunately, the engraved words will soon be a thing of the past. The ice library is expected to last until April when Lake Baikal normally begins to thaw. If you’d like to be a part of the library’s short-lived history, you can send in your wish to be engraved by using this link (in Russian) up until Feb. 28. Via NBC Bay Area Images via MACTC  

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World’s first library of ice in Siberia is filled with crowd-sourced content

Mecanoo to update Washington’s MLK Library with massive green roof

February 9, 2017 by  
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Renovating historic architectural landmarks is no easy task, but Dutch firm, Mecanoo , will be taking on the responsibility of breathing new life into the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C, originally designed by modernist master Ludwig Mies van der Rohe . Although the plans certainly call for retaining the original design’s most prominent features, the new version will include contemporary touches focused on adding more public space, such as an expansive green rooftop terrace . https://youtu.be/BUORTgTKBkg The library is a massive 37,000 square feet landmarked building that opened in 1972. The original design was focused on transparency and light, metaphors for the pillars of freedom and knowledge so often referenced by Dr. King. Related: Cedar Rapids turns tragedy into triumph with new LEED Platinum public library Working in collaboration with local firm Martinez+Johnson Architecture , the building will soon be getting a fresh new makeover that still pays homage to Dr King’s legacy. The main entrance and two adjacent cores will become the focal point of the space, opening them up to more light and community interaction. A Great Hall will be at the heart of the building, serving as a central area specifically setup to host cultural and informal events. The design also calls for new spacious stairwells to add a more fluid motion of traffic to the interior. The distribution of the library’s various departments and functional areas will also be rearranged to make the space more people-friendly. The glazed perimeter, previously lined with books shelves, will be converted into public areas. Visitors will be able to enjoy a new café on the ground floor and an expansive green rooftop terrace with beautiful views of the urban surroundings. + Mecanoo + Martinez+Johnson Architecture Via World Architecture News

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Mecanoo to update Washington’s MLK Library with massive green roof

Trump claims he received no calls about the Keystone and Dakota pipelines

February 9, 2017 by  
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In the land of alternative facts, up is down, left is right, and no one cares at all about the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines. At least, that’s what Trump would have you believe. POTUS told reporters that after giving the projects the green light , he didn’t get a single complaint phone call. “I don’t even think it was controversial,” he added. “I haven’t had one call from anybody,” Trump said. ““You know, usually, if I do something it’s like bedlam, right?” And maybe he’s right, maybe he hasn’t had any calls, since the comment line at the White House was shut down on January 23. Related: Here’s every bank funding the Dakota Access Pipeline, and how to switch Trump wasn’t done with mangling the facts just yet, though. He also claimed that “Nobody showed up to fight” against the pipelines initially. Protestors only showed up after the companies spent a “tremendous” amount of “hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars,” and then protestors showed up. Dollars that not coincidentally came out of Trump’s own pockets . https://twitter.com/ABC/status/829180971962372097?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw Not to worry, though. These completely uncontroversial pipelines are going to be real job creators according to Trump. Keystone will create “32,000  jobs almost immediately,” jobs that TransCanada CEO Russ Girling say will be “ongoing, enduring.” Fact checkers expect the pipeline will actually create about 3,900 two-year jobs, with just around 50 people being employed long-term . Via Grist images via Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Trump claims he received no calls about the Keystone and Dakota pipelines

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects unveils competition-winning design for the Shanghai Library

November 30, 2016 by  
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Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects just unveiled plans for the new Shanghai Library that are every bit as impressive as the city’s many futuristic buildings. Set to rise in Pudong overlooking the immense Century Park, the Shanghai Library will be light-filled with an eye-catching form. The design beat out proposals from competing firms including Kengo Kuma, David Chipperfield, and Dominique Perrault. The 125,000-square-meter Shanghai Library is shaped like an inverted triangle that appears to float over the landscape. The main library , clad in alternating strips of glazing and floor plate, is set above two glass pavilions housing a 1,200-seat performance venue, exhibition and events space, and dedicated children’s library. “We see the library as the focal point in a park, a central rock within a city-scale Chinese garden,” said Schmidt Hammer Lassen partner Chris Hardie. “One of the most compelling things about this project is its location within a parkland setting. You are in the heart of the world’s largest city, yet we have the opportunity to create a sanctuary for knowledge and media in the trees.” Related: Ennead Architects break ground on celestial Shanghai Planetarium Natural light fills the interior through the fritted glass bands that wrap around the building and a large skylight above the central atrium . Three staggered reading rooms are arranged around the atrium and feature low walls and open seating to promote transparency and spaciousness. Curved timber walls, bookshelves, and floors give the modern interior a sense of warmth. The Shanghai Library is expected to open in 2020. + Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Via ArchDaily

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Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects unveils competition-winning design for the Shanghai Library

The iridescent facade of this library reflects the innovative thinking going on inside

September 5, 2016 by  
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The new building reconciles the different scale of Vaughan’s City Hall’s Clock tower and historic Sarah Noble/Beaverbrook House. Its reflective facade changes appearance with the light throughout the day. This ever-changing appearance references the constantly-evolving learning environment inside the building and wraps around the volume to form a central interior courtyard . Related: Sleek, green Lawrence Public Library is a welcoming haven for book lovers To create a modern space that reflects the way new digital tools are used in learning, the architects created a flexible layout that encourages social interaction. Colorful furniture and natural lighting further animate the spaces and direct visitors to different multi-functional and collaboration spaces, meeting rooms , and lounges. An outdoor garden courtyard features a red maple tree that represents knowledge. Visitors can use computers, 3D printers , a sound recording and video studio with a green screen. + ZAS Architects Via World Architecture News

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The iridescent facade of this library reflects the innovative thinking going on inside

A giant eye looks out from MVRDVs futuristic library in Tianjin

June 24, 2016 by  
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Created as part of the new Binhai Cultural Center, the 34,200-square-meter Tianjin Library was created in collaboration with Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI) to serve as an education center and connector from the park to the burgeoning cultural district. The building is glazed to promote transparency and is punctured by an oval opening that provides clear views both into the library atrium and of the surrounding park landscape. The mirrored and spherical auditorium set at the center of the oval gives the space an eye-like and surreal effect. Related: MVRDV’s massive staircase made of scaffolding opens in Rotterdam “The Eye is the centre of the library. It ‘hollows out’ the building and creates, out of bookshelves, an environment to sit, to read, to hang out, to climb and to access, to create an organic social space,” said MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas. “In its heart is the auditorium which mirrors the environment, giving a 360 degree panorama of the space inside; a truly reflective and pensive environment.” Curvaceous and terraced bookshelves located around the auditorium echo the spherical shape and lead up into an organic ceiling pattern. The contour-like lines are extended to the facade, where they’re used as sun-shading louvres . The Tianjin Binhai library is estimated to open to the public by mid 2017. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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A giant eye looks out from MVRDVs futuristic library in Tianjin

Gorgeous LEED Gold library was designed with the help of Facebook and Twitter

June 10, 2016 by  
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In lieu of community charrettes, Bing Thom Architects launched an online “Ideabook” that welcomed everyone to submit ideas, photographs, and texts of what they wanted the library to look like. Of the library’s Facebook fans, the largest percentage was under 25 and the second largest group was women between the ages of 35 and 44. The librarians also aided those who were digitally challenged. Requests ranged from a prayer room for the Muslim population to computer training facilities to drawing areas in the children’s section. Related: South Vancouver’s Soaring Sunset Community Center Connects With Nature The architects distilled the ideas into the final people-centered library design that sports a tapered ship-like appearance and curvaceous, ultra-modern lines. “With advances in easily available electronic information, the role of libraries is changing and the book collection is no longer the central focus,” said the architects. “The building design evolved out of the need to provide a space for reading, studying, and above all, gathering as a community.” Large windows, an upward winding central atrium, and skylights bring in copious amounts of natural light, while the outward sloped walls mitigate solar gain. + Bing Thom Architects Images via Bing Thom Architects

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Gorgeous LEED Gold library was designed with the help of Facebook and Twitter

Boxy new library by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects designed to regenerate Halifax

May 25, 2016 by  
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The library, comprising four slightly tilted volumes, reflects the historical axis between the Halifax Citadel and the city harbor. It references the city’s maritime heritage and aims to regenerate the downtown area. Thanks to its diverse programs, the building functions as a cultural hub. Related: Schmidt Hammer Lassen’s university center is inspired by local mountains in Wenzhou, China The interior features a large atrium space filled with stairs and walkways connecting five stories. This area leads to a 300-seat performance space , two cafes, music studios, reading rooms and boardrooms for local entrepreneurs. Kids and young adults can use the second floor, organized according to different age groups. Adaptability and an innovative approach to programming are the main trademarks of the building. The library design encourages interaction and collaboration by functioning as a free public space . + Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects + Fowler Bauld &Mitchell Photos by Adam Mørk

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Boxy new library by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects designed to regenerate Halifax

First urban park on Las Vegas Strip is an oasis in the middle of the desert

May 25, 2016 by  
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Rather than cutting down trees to put up a parking lot, !melk designed a park to take over a previously paved section of the Vegas strip, occupying approximately six acres between New York New York and Monte Carlo. The Park, which opened April 4, is a water-wise urban microclimate with 250 shade trees and over 7,000 individual plants—native and adapted varieties—as well as several fun water features. Several 60-foot-tall shade structures were manufactured by a ship-building company in the Netherlands, and are outfitted with lights to illuminate the park at night. Related: Las Vegas gambles on green with world’s first solar kinetic street lights This area of Las Vegas, owned predominantly by MGM Resorts International, sees more than 40 million visitors each year. Due to the high foot traffic on the Strip, the Park has the potential to become the most visited park in the world. By comparison, New York City’s Central Park receives around 42 million visitors each year, so the competition is stiff. In fact, the top six most heavily trafficked city parks are located in NYC, so the new park in Las Vegas is bound to make history, even if it doesn’t steal the top spot. “[The Park] celebrates the Mojave desert, using its colors, patterns, materials and vegetation,” said Jerry van Eyck, Founder & Principal, !melk landscape architecture & urban design, in a statement. “Amidst the hectic hustle and bustle of the Strip, we were able to create something that is not just sustainable, but also genuinely authentic to the City. In addition to its iconicity, The Park reinstates what Vegas once was: an oasis in the middle of the desert.” + !melk Images via Hans Joosten

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First urban park on Las Vegas Strip is an oasis in the middle of the desert

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