CONNECTING RINGS The renovation of the Keratsini Library aims at not only providing an attractive and suitable internet enabled study space, but also an innovative example of how any Greek library can reposition its role, to “change its form”, to become an attraction pole for young and old, to transform into a connective ring for all social strata and their activities offering a free space to meet and exchange ideas.
The proposed plan urges the library to turn its interests towards the “outside” – the residents of the area, the community and the visitor – in order of the “inside” to regain value and meaning. The role of books as means of education on the one side is supported by the possibilities offered by new technologies, which permeate the space, but on the other side cease to be the protagonist. The new protagonist and “director” of the natural environment of the library becomes the visitor-user, who utilizes the available technology, services and space according to his/her needs and wants.
The visitor is called upon to enter an interactive dialogue with the environment turning the space into a user-centric, open and flexible stage of interaction, communication and education. Replacing the classic, tall and dull library shelves, which are typically “glued” to the walls with two curved, low-height constructions creates spaces within spaces: two rings interconnecting, cyclical shapes, dynamic islands catering to various uses and functions. One isle leads to the technology part of the library (internet, audio-visual means) while the movable parts of the second isle turn the library shelves into a shared, community space with seating. Out of an interactive game, the visitor-user becomes an active part of the composition of the new space. Every time s/he chooses to change the position of the library shelves, depending on his/her mood and needs, s/he is invited to come into contact, to interact and cooperate with other people, the other visitors-users. His/her imagination, his/her creativity and his/her communication with the other people creates a new image of the space.
The movable shelves can be adapted to any kind of a library space. They also can be adapted to cater to varying activities taking place within the library, like, for example, workshops, concerts, exhibitions, presentations, lectures, etc. The surrounding walls of the library remain, to the largest possible extent, empty of furniture so that they can be used for exhibitions, visual presentations, etc. One part of the walls is reserved for monitors and cabinets, so called “letterboxes”, to hold newspapers and magazines with the news of the world.
The rope, a material chosen because is connected closely to the area of Keratsini, functions here as the material of choice for an installation whose aims it is to enclose the library within the neighborhood, to awaken memories from the sea and to facilitate the process of familiarization for the locals with the library. As far as the other libraries of Greece are concerned, the aim is to develop different installations or propose other materials instead of the rope, in order to incorporate local traditions, characteristics or memories into the modern and international character of the wider designed library space. The libraries will have to be renovated based on the rich, cultural heritage of Greece while dynamically balancing the new with the old.
STATUS: Invited Competition
PROJECT: Future Library
PROGRAM: 73 sqm Library
LOCATION: Keratsini, Piraeus, Greece
CLIENT: Stavros Niarchos Foundation
DESIGN: Elina Drossou