London - literature's labyrinth of 'lost souls' is one of the favourite settings for writers/poets/scientists/thinkers and intelligentsia, who have nurtured the city into the greatest hub of intellectual revolution. One of the greatest living cities of the planet, London has had the biggest global influence on the socio-economic and cultural landscape of the world. London has been the influence and subject of various literary figures like Shakespeare, Keats, Milton, Byron, Dickens, Newton, Arthur Doyle, George Bernard Shaw, PB Shelley, Chaucer, Virginia Woolf, JK Rowling etc. to name a few. It has been the greatest hub for the development of arts, science and the great English Literature.
London has a great reading culture among its residents, who like to drown into their books looking for some respite from the fast paced metropolitan life. The city is home to great libraries like the British Library, Westminster Reference Library and London Library to name a few. Libraries all over the world have had a great impact on the society and people. Creating and providing an outlet for technological advancements, introducing and nurturing cultural artefacts, supporting the rise of various religions and helping to maintain a sense of historical structure, they have managed to help communities survive and thrive via numerous artistic outlets.
The earliest known library was a collection of clay tablets in Babylonia in the 21st cent. B.C. The extensively catalogued library of Nineveh was the most noted before that at Alexandria. With time, more and more patrons started coming up with libraries until the modern age, when internet was invented and digital revolution swept away the aura and essence of libraries. Libraries are no longer the convenient source of information and have seen dwindling engagement among people. The book culture is on the decline and so is thought and originality. Internet may have been a boon but it also serves incomplete information, curbs thought process and encourages plagiarism.
Hyde park is one of the largest parks of London and one of its royal parks. Spread over an area of 325 acres, it is one major attraction for the people of London who flock here every day to relax, have fun and savour the natural environment.
The aim of the competition is to erect a public library in Hyde park, London that would promote reading culture among the general public and visitors.
- The library should be a freestanding structure and exemplary urban form that will change the rigid outlook of libraries. The architecture should be inviting and informal, being able to connect with the general public in whole. The library be fluid and dynamic spatially, being in coherence with nature. The aesthetic quality, materiality, volume and form should add vitality, beauty and a sense of identity to the space, paying respect to context and surrounding environment. The library should be constructed of easy-to-maintain light and durable materials, introducing elements of transparency, light, nature and activity in the overall building concept.
- The library should be able to re-invent itself programmatically by introducing new ways of and incorporating digital technology into its already existing ways and methods of learning. The spatiality of the library should be re-interpreted from boring and pragmatic interiors to some innovative, interesting and flexible typology of reading spaces, furniture, interior arrangements etc. The participants' should focus on creating an experience for the user in the library space that will stimulate the mind to stay and spend time for longer periods.
- The competition seeks to create a 21st century 'library in a park' paradox that will incorporate the social factor in an anti-social built form like a library. It should further become a useful prototypical public resource and an architectural landmark within the park that would even attract non-readers to visit the place.
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