Kerkrade Library

31 Jan 2017

This project’s route strayed far off course from the way things usually go. At first, I was commissioned by the library, whose next-door neighbor was the theater in the same building, for a new interior design. Six months later, I got a phone call and my client shifted from the library to the municipality.

Finding untapped potential

The municipality wanted a design for the entire building. Interestingly enough, the library was using about half of all the space, while a wall separated it from the theater and its foyer, which was an empty space the vast majority of the time. This seemed rather unfortunate to me as resources were not being used as efficiently as they could have been. The space held a lot of potential, yet it was very often left unoccupied. Financially and environmentally speaking this was less than desirable as the entire building was being heated. As an architectural designer, my focus was public space architecture and a creative library, in more ways than one.

My focus was public space architecture and a creative library, in more ways than one.

Aat Vos

Creative Guide

Social innovation would only be possible with clear cooperation between library, theater and municipality. I designed an interior for the entire cultural cluster, which now houses the library, the foyer of the theater, offices, spaces to be creative in by doing and watching shows, and multifunctional hall. Upon entering the library, you can digitally become a member at the service counter, but you can also purchase tickets for a theater show next door. An entire wall functions as a massive touchscreen for you to find information, but you are also free to do this in a playful manner in the gaming area.

The future integration of the cultural sector

This project is interesting because of the transition from the library as a client to having the humbling opportunity to design something for the entire city. This change was fostered by the belief of the municipality that this is how you should design and act with buildings for the public. Kerkrade is a typical project case of hybridization, as you link multiple public programs. Combining programs is challenging, but the outcome of a unique synergy is well worth the effort.

The design process as such became responsible for the transition that the organizations ended up making. This shift embodied a new way of thinking, making the cooperation of the organizations visible and tangible for the residents in an original way. Kerkrade left its old ways of thinking behind and dared to discover and create new potential for the city.

Project credits Kerkrade Culture Cluster.

Kerkrade Culture Cluster is a co-creation of Aat Vos (design concept, strategy, art direction) and Mars Interieurarchitecten (design, engineering).

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