Tailor-made suit in white-orange
The city center "Neue Mitte Karben" was created from an urban planning competition that the architects BLPF from Friedberg won in 2015. In 2018, the city of Karben rents the first upper floor in building A (3 buildings in total) with 430m³ in the shell and commissions my office to expand the city library.
The marketplace concept is not only based on commercial equipment: A cultural and educational facility is to be created in which all social classes can find their connection.
The result is a place that offers a range of offers, six days a week, to offer a pleasant stay without being forced to service. In addition to the classic library facilities, the future-proof location offers a wide range of options for informal use. In addition to books, music, game consoles and film events, permanent work groups and informal work can take place thanks to well-equipped IT seats on sixty-meter-long benches. Close to the terrace is the lounge with comfortable armchairs as a reading corner with the daily press and magazines.
It is less than 500 meters from the old to the new address: But in the course of the move from the "Citycenter" to a building complex called "Neue Mitte" near the S-Bahn station, the city library in the Frankfurt suburb of Karben is reinventing itself. A part of the media was exchanged, the size of the original space was increased to more than double, also the opening times almost doubled. And where in the past no reader could sit down - for example to skim the blurb or even to leaf through a possibly interesting book - the new rooms offer a whole range of opportunities - from simple cushions to spartan work chairs and comfortable armchairs to the mattress for lounging in the fairy tale corner. Instead of a lending office, the future aim is to be a cultural meeting place with a high quality of stay. Anything can, but none must, is the motto of library director Antonia Berberich. In other words: Both the spatial possibilities and the technical infrastructure are important in order to be able to develop a program tailored to old and new reader groups. the specific program will, in addition to own ideas, preferably be developed in collaboration with other institutions - including the youth culture center, day-care centers and old people's homes.
It is thanks to Marie-Therese Deutsch that the new rooms open up a multitude of new possibilities. What is dryly called "interior design" has actually become a tailor-made suit fit to the needs of the library and its reinvention. Whereby - to stay in the picture - this made-to-measure suit on the one hand still has clear fabric, i.e. infrastructure reserves, so that it will still fit very well and figure-hugging in ten or twenty years, as far as is foreseeable. On the other hand, it is extremely variable. Whether reading, leafing through a magazine or listening to music or an audio book, teaching, working on a laptop or playing games - all of this is possible without further ado. In future, however, you can also come to the Karben City Library to attend lectures, readings, and indoor and outdoor cinema. Even receptions and dinners are possible.
This variability is due to the furniture made of white coated wood material. Deutsch had the carpenter manufacture bookshelves, "book towers", cloakrooms, locker cabinets and magazine dispensers according to their plans. Always 1.85 meters high and provided with a metal-reinforced, barely visible joint, into which you can insert the fork of a furniture lift truck and, for example, move a tower of books weighing up to a ton so that it cannot tip over. The means are simple, but the effect is spectacular: in normal operation, the white furniture - wall cladding and benches are also made of the aforementioned wood-based material - structures the multifunctional space, forms different spatial situations, niches, séparées, open scenarios, contracts rooms and expands them. When an event is being held, all the shelves and towers are pushed together with the pallet truck and a free area is created on which up to 120 visitors can have a reading. A few book towers, however, are fixed - they cover a total of five supports (two more are on the walls). The architect has also integrated 1.85 meter high, white painted radiators into these towers.
As a contrast to the rather cool, white splendor - which is of course loosened up by the spines of the books - there are orange-colored cushions on the benches, orange-covered mattresses in the fairy tale corner and an orange-marbled, hard-wearing linoleum floor. Deliberately used as a warm opposite pole, this orange embodies the playful in an aesthetically strict but functionally flexible order. The seat cushions on the benches can be pushed together to form groups, and you can even sleep on the mattresses (fairytale nights with overnight stays are planned). In the middle of the north wall there is an oversized monitor and a screen with a projector so that a group can watch a film together. The same equipment is also available on the terrace. So it is conceivable that in the future some Karben people will spend some mild summer evenings in their city library with an outdoor cinema. The library will also offer video and console games in the future, and the appropriate virtual reality glasses have already been purchased.
It was a major concern of Deutsch to make the library future-proof - as far as possible. The technology remains largely invisible, but USB connections and sockets can be found everywhere. Because inspection flaps are also available across the board, the easily accessible cable harnesses can be added to or replaced. And of course there is a powerful WLAN network. Even the light can be controlled. At the instigation of the architect, the Frankfurt branch of the lighting manufacturer Artemide has developed a lighting plan for the library. Up to seven different light scenarios can be conjured up with the spots and spotlights on the ceiling as well as with the naturally orange-colored object lights: Whether it's a fairy tale hour or a large reception, whether reading or teaching, depending on the occasion, the staff can set the desired lighting mood using a switch. Whereby the light is regulated in normal operation in such a way that even the books or their spines on the bottom shelf are still sufficiently illuminated to be legible.
It is astonishing: the architect Marie-Therese Deutsch has created her own book and media cosmos on one floor of a not very attractive building complex in a not very attractive environment of commercial, park and arable land. Given the surroundings, it is no wonder that this cosmos is more self-centered. That this cosmos offers a pleasant, sensual and spacious room experience, given the structural conditions. The cooperation between the client, user and planner has also proven itself: Silke Radetzky, project manager of the city of Karben, head of bookkeeping Berberich and architect Deutsch visited several city libraries in Hesse to keep themselves up to date with the variety of programs and services, equipment, but also digital Bring requirements. This trip and its findings have done the new Karben City Library good. Already in the last few months in the old place the Karben librarians recorded a large influx of readers from surrounding communities and cities. What is certain is that the visit to the new, tailor-made, white and orange rooms of the city library will be even more worthwhile.