Urban Considerations The Templehof Airfield, now a large urban park, and the development of the surrounding edge has been the object of several competitions in recent years. The competition required a development of the landscape and urban plan for the areas adjacent to the library site in with the intent of providing a context integrated with the proposal for the library building.
skyline view from the park
The master plan, in contrast to the existing suburban pattern, seeks to provide a density and variety of use mixed with distinctly urban public spaces that produces a skyline in which the library building is the most distinctive.
urban section through Templehoferdam (left), boulevard, courtyard gardens to airfield park
In this context the taller volume of the library building clearly acts as an urban landmark in counterpoise to the Airport building on the building frontage as seen from the airfield.
site plan The master plan, in contrast to the existing suburban pattern, seeks to provide a density and variety of use mixed with distinctly urban public spaces that produces a skyline in which the library building is the most distinctive.
library building from pedestrian boulevard
Landscaping The dense cityscape is matched by dense landscaping to form an edge on the airfield side to provide a variety of more enclosed garden spaces in contrast to the openness of airfield.
elevation of library from runway- reading rooms to the right, book stacks to the left
These are created by volumes of the buildings together with the sloping ground planes and heavily wooded areas that form fingers that reach into the airfield to form a discontinuous façade to the park. These “finger blocks” are geometrically parallel to the two runways of the airfield which visually, in not volumetrically, dominate and generate the south side of the scheme.
section through library
These gardens are woven into the ground floor on the north and west sides where the café, amphitheatre and interior courtyard spaces are located. On the main entry side (to the west) the piazza is sunken by 1.5m. This is the conclusion of the the pedestrian boulevard running north-south parallel to the Tempelhoferdamm, the main vehicular spine for this side of the park.
elevation to the airfield
interior view of reading rooms
interior view of reading rooms
Building Form As for the landscaping the runways are a mark/sign of many possible readings for this site in general and the library building in particular:
-their sheer length and straightness connote a dynamic quite apart from mere function
– take-off and landing
-graphic sign in a landscape void: land-mark
-east west direction (vector) – prevailing wind, not just for planes but also urban ventilation
-scale contrast- infrastructure scale vs. cityscape, urban volume vs. landcape void
These aspects inevitably lead to their incorporation in the generation of the form of both the library building and the surrounding urban structure.
The library building is generated flying wall which “takes off” and turns enclosing the various spaces of the building in a spiralling movement on a series of very slightly inclined ramps (1%-2%).
At ground floor it encloses the entry lobby and creates the void for the courtyard garden.
the wall continues to climb and turn for 7 floors enclosing the the main book tower (with a mechanised distribution system) leaving a central void- a pivot space in the middle and a slot shaped courtyard around which the reading rooms are located.
The spiralling wall is accompanied by a continuous perimeter ramp connecting the spaces. On the long edges of the courtyard, connecting ramps between levels are located. The interiors are lit naturally from both sides: from the courtyard by glass curtain walling between the ramps and through the translucent external skin, composed of a floor to ceiling curtain wall and, to its exterior, large scale mesh made of prefabricated GRC panels. The cantilevered reading rooms are spaced apart vertically with glass curtain walls for views to east (airfield), north (airport building) and south (down-town)