ben brady


RANT ahead….

I have started making  a massing model.  Basically the building will be organized around light.  The top is the library…the precious box  that looks in on itself and away from the city.  It is focused and will be design to the precision of the human body.  This will probably be a large dead spot too with no wifi or cell phone coverage inside.  It will not be a library of the past though.  This box will carry books and organize them in a contemporary way.  The physical library can adopt lessons from the ways we organize our lives digitally, on-line and with the aid of digital devices.  Below is a break.  The program that attaches itself to the library today (community center, theater, cafe, restaurant, digital research center, cinema,etc.) exists  below in the triangular shaped spaces.  Those spaces are inhabitable and at the same time push space on the public ground level around.  The ground floor is a digital space for gathering.  People will sit on street furniture, pull up chairs to tables and eat their lunches, and basically will be a charged public space for the city.  The digital belongs to the speed of the city.  The analog of the physical library is something different and will float above.  The library wants to be one thing and the digital space/social programs want to be another.  Blurring the line between them and creating ‘hybrid space’ is worthless in the case of the library and creates grey, murky space.  This library is a call to de-hybridize the library and for dedicated space once again.  We have devices like iphones that do 5 million things and they do them sort of forgettably.  This isn’t a new phenomenon.  We have objects in our daily lives like swiss army knives that do many things and most of them not well.  But we love the convenience and the accessibility and speed of these devices.  It is only natural that we have tried to spatialize this phenomenon but I would argue that at the moment, it hasn’t produced that much great.  Technology is moving really fast over the last half a century and it will probably continue to do that.  Should something as static as a library, a place to hold books (our most stable form of reproduced knowledge) reflect a time that is in such flux?  Probably not.  It seems to me that the digital and the physical are at odds with each other in the library.  The book is constantly trying to hold ground in the face of new technologies, media, and social programs that are vying for their physical space.  The digital is equally hindered by the physical and we see traces of the past emerging as skeuomorphs both in our physical environments and our digital ones.  So, maybe for now they have space to breath and then we can focus the interactions between them on a smaller scale.  This is what I think.


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