When I was in the first grade of elementary school, my mother took me to the nearby library to sign the first library card in my life. Since then I fell in love with the only library nearby. Despite it being located above a traditional market, in an ordinary building, and I had to stand the terrible fish and animal smells in the market, this small library opened up my curiosity about the world. At first, I did not know many words, so basically I looked at the pictures, and jumped the pages. With my own imagination I created different stories. Once the library card was full of stamps, I could exchange it for a gift. Today, I still remember very clearly the joy of getting a panda pencil case.
When I grew up, I came into contact with different libraries and began to appreciate their beauty. Although the book is the protagonist in the library, it is a great pleasure to read a book in a comfortable environment.
Once I went to Germany to see friends and stayed in Stuttgart for two days. A distinctive city library got my attention. The Stuttgart City Library has moved several times since its opening in 1901. At the end of 2011 it finally moved into the work created by Korean architect Eun Young Yi, who won the competition in 1999. Compared with the Bauhaus-style classical architecture everywhere in this area, some people think the library’s design is avant-garde and innovative, and some people think it is incompatible with the surrounding environment.
It is a huge, cubic building with two floors underground and nine floors above ground. You can see a design shape with many windows from the outside. As it was first completed, the local media ridiculed it as “an oversized magic cube composed of two colours”. But when you really get inside, you will be amazed how simple it is.
The Stuttgart City Library is part of the giant city planning project Stuttgart 21, with a size of 100 hectares. In the past, churches or palaces used to be the centre of the city. But in modern society, the importance of increasing personal knowledge and experience is highlighted. As a result, libraries are becoming more and more important to society. This library is located next to the old cargo railway, but in the heart of the city, it becomes a fresh and beautiful sight. In addition, its distinctive design won the 2013 Annual Library Awards.
If you believe in No Pain, No Gain, the birth of this library is further proof. In 1997, the city of Stuttgart requested the city library to develop a spatial plan for the new central library. 235 architectural companies participated in the competition. These designs were judged by a 36-member jury. Eun Young Yi, an architect from South Korea, won the competition in the end. Unfortunately, the project was postponed due to the uncertainty of the plan. The building’s permit was finally approved in 2007, but the construction process encountered many problems and was delayed until the end of 2011.
The basic form of the library is almost square, with a side length of 44 meters and a height of 40 meters. The first cover of the double façade features glass bricks, while the second cover is pure glass walls. This construction consciously separates the educational and cultural world inside of the building from the noisy outside world. The façade space is designed as a space buffer, giving library visitors and staff the opportunity to use the area as a strolling walkway and/or balcony. The architect created introverted and outgoing rooms, which allow visitors to feel the quietness in the library while feeling the connection to the urban space. The façade of the cubic structure consists of 9 x 9 glass blocks, 4.03 meters high and 4.85 meters wide. The floor plan, view and section always match the grid size of 0.97 meters. The movable blades in the façade and glass roof provide glare protection. A photovoltaic system is also installed on the blades.
The inscription on the roof parapet clearly shows that the library believes that it is not only the local centre, but also the centre of the world. The word “library” appears in four different languages: the world language, English; the local language, German; the architect’s native language, Korean; and Arabic, to commemorate Egypt’s Alexander, a great library of the ancient world. The location is known as the ancestor of today’s libraries.
The library, which is open in all directions, has a circular foyer where you can understand the composition of the building. A waiting area, an area for reading newspapers and a book sorter for returning media are located in the entrance hall. Of course, the whole hall is an accessible space. Extending the opening hours is also the concept of a future-oriented library: the institution is open from 9 am to 9 pm. It also allows visitors to borrow selected media through automated machines in the entrance hall, which can be used throughout the night. Book service time can be extended by using automatic returning equipment. Through the glass wall, visitors can watch the high-tech equipment at work as it classifies individual items.
The empty centre – quiet space
At the centre of the building is the heart:
A cube-shaped space enjoys the luxury of having no obvious function. It extends from the first floor to the third floor. Library management wants a quiet element that can transcend itself and give visitors a reason to calm down for a while.
The architect cited the Pantheon in Rome as an example and prototype of this space. But the centre of the library not only reinterprets the important space creations of ancient times in the West, it also contains references to ancient Eastern teachings, such as the Yijing (I-Ching). This includes elements like earth, water, air and light.
Here you can perceive two levels: a horizontal plane that allows viewing in all four basic directions and a columnar vertical plane in combination with the earth, water, air and light elements. The strong self-focusing of this room contrasts sharply with the elements that specify its interior, while allowing it to transcend itself: a flat square basin with a spring in the centre of the room, and another square opening above the ceiling, where the light can pass into the room.
Like the foyer on the ground floor, the overlying area of the media display is circular. In the middle, from the fourth floor above the ceiling of a space named “Herz” (Heart), the reading room opens to the glass roof to form a funnel shape. The terraced gallery room is also a design with thousands of years of history and has been used many times by architects – for example, Etienne-Louis Boullée’s design for the French National Library in the 18th century. It is spread over four floors and connects to a variety of learning studios.
In this library the pairs of stairs are designed as a flowing walkway in each reading gallery. The recessed floor of the building opens this space to the ceiling, which enhances the natural light.
In this gallery there are two stairs lead to each floor. The visitor automatically traverses the floor in a clockwise direction, spiralling upwards, and the middle space is wider and wider like a tornado. Visitors can see different areas connected to each other through an open staircase. The close connections between these different regions enrich visitors, who can accidentally immerse themselves in an unfamiliar world and learn naturally.
The eighth level is dedicated to the theme of “art”, which accommodates graphic collections. Here, visitors can borrow a piece of art for eight weeks, from more than 2,500 pieces of paper, such as paintings, copperplates, photographs or watercolours.
There is also a self-service cafe (Café LesBar, which also means “readable”), which operates in partnership with civil society institutions to assist people with disabilities and provide employment to integrate into their environment. The café restaurant is separated from the surrounding area by a glass wall only. On the one hand, it faces the reading room and on the other hand provides a city view. If the view from here is still not enough for you, you can climb up to a terrace.
There are circular walkways around the skylight on the roof terrace. Here, visitors can enjoy a 360-degree view of the Stuttgart Valley. Even the most popular station tower in the past can hardly compete with the library’s location. At around 5 pm many people would come to the roof to see the amazing view over the city. In the wintertime you can see already the night scenes of thousands of lights.
This cube library is a bit like a fallen rock on the lawn. In the evening, when the area becomes calm, the building shines like a blue crystal in the heart of Stuttgart, transforming the library from a bookworm’s paradise to a craving.
The architect said: In an era of disorientation, we need to create a building that is loyal to its essence.
In this space, I felt the original intention of the architect and also returned to myself in the time of elementary school.
上小學一年級時媽媽帶我去附近的圖書館辦了我人生中第一張借書證。 從那時候我就愛上了附近唯一的圖書館。 雖然它位在傳統市場樓上, 只是一棟普通的建築物, 還要忍受經過市場特有的魚腥和動物味道, 但是那個小圖書館卻開啟了我對世界的好奇心。 剛開始認識的字不多, 所以基本上故事是看圖片, 還有跳著看內容的。 加上自己的想像力, 每次故事情節都會不一樣。 那個借書證蓋滿使用印章時就可以換一個禮物, 到今天我還很清晰地記得拿到一個貓熊鉛筆盒時的快樂。
長大後接觸到不同的圖書館, 開始欣賞不同圖書館的美。 雖然書在圖書館中是主角, 但是能在一個舒適的環境中看本書, 真是人生一大享受。
有次去德國看朋友路過斯圖加特就待了兩天。 一個與眾不同的市立圖書館吸引了我。 斯圖加特市立圖書館從1901 年啟⽤後搬了幾次家。⼀直到2011 年底終於搬入由韓國建築師李恩揚 (Eun Young Yi) 在1999 年競圖中脫穎⽽出的作品。和這裡隨處可⾒的包豪斯式古典建築相比起來，有⼈認為它的設計極前衛、創新，也有⼈覺得它和周圍環境格格不入。它是⼀個地下2層、地上9 層的巨⼤立⽅體建築，從外部可以看到⼀個個窗體造型的房間。當地媒體在它最初落成時，曾調侃之為「由兩種顏⾊組成的超⼤號魔術⽅塊」。但當你真正深入到裡⾯之後，⼜會驚訝於它的簡單⾄極。
斯圖加特市立圖書館是100 公頃⼤都市計畫Stuttgart 21 的⼀部分。 在過去，教堂或宮殿形成了城市的中心。但在現代社會中，個人豐富知識和豐富經驗的重要性突顯出來。結果，圖書館對社會變得越來越重要。這個位於市中心, 舊鐵路貨運⾞站地區的圖書館, 讓城市多了⼀個清新氣質⼜漂亮的景點。此外, 其特色設計贏得2013年年度圖書館大獎。
如果說好事多磨, 這一個圖書館的誕生就是一個證明。1997年，斯圖加特市要求市圖書館為新的中央圖書館制定空間計劃。235家建築公司參加了此次競圖。這些設計由一個由36人組成的評委會評判。來自韓國的建築師Eun Young Yi贏得了競圖。可惜由於計劃的不確定性，該項目被推遲。建築許可證最終於2007年獲得批准, 但是建造過程遇到很多問題, 拖延到2011年底才正式開放。
圖書館的基本形式是一個方形底座，邊長44米，高40米。雙層立面的外殼以玻璃磚為特色，而內部則由玻璃幕牆組成，有意識地將教育和文化世界與外部世界的喧囂分開。外立面空間被設計為空間緩衝區，為圖書館的參觀者和員工提供了使用該區域作為漫步路徑和/或陽台的機會。建築師創造了內向和外向的房間，這樣就可以讓遊客感受到圖書館的靜謐感，同時又感受到與城市空間的聯繫。立方結構的立面由9 x 9個玻璃塊組成，高4.03米，寬4.85米。平面圖，視圖和剖面始終與0.97米的網格尺寸相匹配。立面間隙和玻璃屋頂中的可移動葉片提供眩光保護。葉片上也裝置光伏系統。
空的中心 – 靜下來的空間
在建築物的中心點 – 心臟：
就像底層的門廳一樣，媒體展示的上覆區域是環形的。在中間，從心臟天花板上方的第4層向上，閱覽室向玻璃屋頂開放，形成漏斗形狀。梯田式的畫廊室也是一個已有數千年曆史的房間，已被建築師多次應用。例如艾蒂安-路易·布雷 Étienne-Louis Boullée18世紀為法國國家圖書館做的設計。它分佈在四個樓層，連接各種學習工作室。各個閱覽廊的成對排列的樓梯被設計成流動的漫步路徑。建築的凹陷層將這個空間打開到天花板，天花板照亮了自然光。
這一層也有一個自助咖啡餐廳 (Café LesBar)，它是與民間社會機構合作運營, 輔助殘疾人並提供與就業有關的工作，以融入職場生活。咖啡餐廳僅通過玻璃牆與周圍區域隔開。一方面，它面向閱覽室，另一方面提供城市景觀。如果從這裡看到的景觀仍然不夠，可以在往上爬上一層道露臺。
在這空間裡, 我感受到建築師的初衷, 也回到小學時的自己。