If it’s possible to have a case of library envy, than color me guilty for The Stuttgart Municipal Library in Germany.
The 9 story, 11,500 square meter facility was designed by Korean Eun Young Yi and opened in October 2011. It is the home of over 500,000 volumes and employs 150. Although the cube-like structure may evoke comparisons to MC Escher or the futuristic visions of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, library director Ingrid Bussman desires it to be “a deeply democratic place which facilitates personal, professional and social orientation and contributes to participation in social development” At the center of the building’s grid-like structure is a 3,000 cubic meter empty space designed to be the ‘heart’ of the building, which emits a sense of calm amongst all of the high technological hustle that libraries have become. Even though city residents do need to pay an annual fee of about $30 to get a library card, the library has 60 research station computers and over 100 laptops which patrons may borrow for use, making the fee well worth it. Although it may not be as bold a look into the future as the Belarus National Library, it looks like libraries will continue to be at the forefront of modern design.
“If the library is a model of the universe, we should attempt to transform it into a universe that is appropriate for human beings. In other words, into a pleasurable library that people enjoy visiting.” – Umberto Eco