DAY 27: Kopenick, Germany

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The finishes of architecture:

Continuing our study of libraries for class, Joachim brought us to two more libraries. The first, and pictured, is the Library and Information Center, the Erwin Schrodinger Zentrum, at the Humboldt University Berlin. The second was the District Library in Berlin Kopenick.

I found both to be some of the better architecture that we’ve seen in Berlin. Each managed to continue the Berlin geometry while making a more inviting atmosphere. At the University Library, I was especially interested in the choice of materials. Though an industrial space, originally added onto and renovated into the library, the open reading room felt comfortable. We toured with one of the librarians, who noted that much of the concrete surfaces had been covered with wood to keep the library quiet. Her criticism was that the library was in fact struggling with issues of sound. The space was quite expansive and the industrial trusses provided a monumental height in the center of the room.

The combination of painted beams and trusses softened the factory-like quality of the space. The red structural pieces were part of the original, while the green structure was added. The same goes for the lighting fixtures which, though industrial, supported the aesthetic of the project while providing soft light.

And most exciting were the library’s robots that transport boxes of books around the huge space so that the librarians don’t have to.

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