Wiel Arets Architect & Associates

University library + rotation building . Duisburg

photos: Wiel Arets

Positioned at the interface between city
and university centre two new compact solitaires establish an independent scale and spatial structure within their heterogonous proximity. The outspoken vertical and horizontal gesture of the volumes results in an iconographic complex, whose presence goes far beyond the immediate context. In addition the reciprocal prelude of both city and campus is labelled and rises to the occasion. As yet the functional aesthetic of the seventies left its mark on the character of the entire campus. Accordingly the infrastructure of the public space is more subject to rational than to atmospheric principals.

In order to stimulate encounters and communication among students, as well as to enlarge the qualities of abidance, it is proposed to densify the existing routes into an informal network including a large number of crossings. In order to strengthen the public radiation and the action at the library, two different magnitudes subdivide the taller building. Twenty-three cubes form a conjugated aggregate of spaces, whose levelling can only be recognized on second sight. Emerging multilayered perspectives of the interior and of Essen’ s roofscape enables views, silent communication and superior togetherness. Analogous to the line of the projected image, the spatial organization is based on enfilades that avoid conventional corridors. Open stairs linked to various voids meander as a continuous route through the building and make one experience the suspensful sequence of spaces.

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