Restoration and extension of the Library of Geneva
Architect: Bez + Kock
Client: Geneva Municipality
Status: Competition (2023)
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Coordinates: 46.1989997, 6.1445351
Climate: Oceanic / maritime, Temperate
Material: Concrete
Environment: Park
Visualizer: Studio Grauwald
Scale: 21.700 ㎡ Large
Types: Education, Library, Refurbishment

The project aims to provide the desired expansion surface for the Geneva Library without weakening its spatial dominance. There is also the need to strengthen the individual addressing of the existing wings. The careful handling of the symmetry and axiality of the existing complex, which we believe is of central importance, forms the basic framework of the proposed intervention.

Two deep courtyards located at the edges of the competition perimeter divide the site and thus define the axially symmetrical access route to the buildings. The terrain between the courtyards rises barely to overcome the existing height difference and to offer the necessary barrier-free access to the complex. An elongated, elegantly folded roof connects the 3 entrances and acts as a welcoming gesture. The two courtyards bring light to the basement, allowing it to function as a new public wing for the library and thus avoiding the addition of new visible volumes. At the same time they offer exterior reading and relaxation spaces for the visitors.

The historic building is undergoing an interior and functional clarification. Installations from more recent times, like the added mezzanines will be removed, allowing the original spatiality of the building to be revived. The carefully located access volumes take into account the concerns of accessibility and escape routes.

The distribution of the functions (offices on the top two floors – public library on the spacious ground floor) is clear, making orientation for the visitors easier. The historic door will remain as the main access of the library, leading to a foyer with information desk, book displays and both quiet and more interactive reading areas. This public space expands to include the first basement, illuminated via the two patios, where a public café, a multifunctional hall, an exhibition space and diverse reading areas are hosted. All of these functions are connected
through the central agora-like foyer, which develops at the axis of the folded roof above.

The added staircase volumes in the existing building connect also the delivery zone with the new depot area that is located underneath the new structure. Six additional basement floors house the required depot surfaces. Two ventilation canals are integrated in the symmetrically located volumes, which also serve as access points for the patios. The facades are covered from regional natural stone with color similar to that of the existing buildings. Large glass surfaces help more natural light to enter the public spaces in the extension.

Competition: Restoration and extension of Geneva Library | Team: Martin Bez, Yong Liang, Fanis Georgiadis | Post date: 03/05/2024 | Views: 353