Urban Experiment leads to a New Type of Public Amenity!
Open Air Library = 2010 Joint Winner of the European Prize for Urban Public Space and the 2011 Brit Insurance Architecture Award. Click on image for more information.
This Open Air Library is located in the Salbke district of Magdeburg, one of Germany’s shrinking cities where the public library was closed. The residents of this economically depressed neighborhood organised to collect and share books in an open-air library that they developed with the architects KARO and Architektur+Netzwerk. The building re-uses prefabricated pieces from a demolished building to create a “green living room” sheltered from the noise of the street. The graffiti is by local youths.
From the project description: This project was the result of an urban planning experiment called “City on Trial”, which focussed on strengthening the social networks of Salbke. An empty store was used as a space for organising a book collection and to engage the residents in an open, neighborly participative process. With advice from a group of professionals, a building program was agreed upon, and several designs for an open-air library were produced. Some twenty thousand books were collected and, with over a thousand beer crates (!!!) a 1:1 scale model of the preferred design was constructed on the site. This temporary building was the venue for a small two-day reading and poetry festival.
The success of the initiative helped to attract the necessary funding from the German Federal Government to construct the facility, which opened in 2009. Prefabricated pieces from a recently-demolished building from the 1960s were re-used to cover the facades of the new building. A thick wall containing shelving for the books shelters an open air green space where people can read, and it culminates in a higher section that houses a cafeteria and a stage where primary school plays are performed, public readings are held and youth concerts are staged.
Open to the public twenty-four hours a day, the library is managed by the residents themselves who, without any checking or monitoring, freely borrow and return books. Although the new library has been vandalised on occasion, it is a fully functioning public facility.

Urban Experiment leads to a New Type of Public Amenity!

Open Air Library = 2010 Joint Winner of the European Prize for Urban Public Space and the 2011 Brit Insurance Architecture Award. Click on image for more information.

This Open Air Library is located in the Salbke district of Magdeburg, one of Germany’s shrinking cities where the public library was closed. The residents of this economically depressed neighborhood organised to collect and share books in an open-air library that they developed with the architects KARO and Architektur+Netzwerk. The building re-uses prefabricated pieces from a demolished building to create a “green living room” sheltered from the noise of the street. The graffiti is by local youths.

From the project description: This project was the result of an urban planning experiment called “City on Trial”, which focussed on strengthening the social networks of Salbke. An empty store was used as a space for organising a book collection and to engage the residents in an open, neighborly participative process. With advice from a group of professionals, a building program was agreed upon, and several designs for an open-air library were produced. Some twenty thousand books were collected and, with over a thousand beer crates (!!!) a 1:1 scale model of the preferred design was constructed on the site. This temporary building was the venue for a small two-day reading and poetry festival.

The success of the initiative helped to attract the necessary funding from the German Federal Government to construct the facility, which opened in 2009. Prefabricated pieces from a recently-demolished building from the 1960s were re-used to cover the facades of the new building. A thick wall containing shelving for the books shelters an open air green space where people can read, and it culminates in a higher section that houses a cafeteria and a stage where primary school plays are performed, public readings are held and youth concerts are staged.

Open to the public twenty-four hours a day, the library is managed by the residents themselves who, without any checking or monitoring, freely borrow and return books. Although the new library has been vandalised on occasion, it is a fully functioning public facility.

Urban Experiment leads to a New Type of Public Amenity!
Open Air Library = 2010 Joint Winner of the European Prize for Urban Public Space and the 2011 Brit Insurance Architecture Award. Click on image for more information.
This Open Air Library is located in the Salbke district of Magdeburg, one of Germany’s shrinking cities where the public library was closed. The residents of this economically depressed neighborhood organised to collect and share books in an open-air library that they developed with the architects KARO and Architektur+Netzwerk. The building re-uses prefabricated pieces from a demolished building to create a “green living room” sheltered from the noise of the street. The graffiti is by local youths.
From the project description: This project was the result of an urban planning experiment called “City on Trial”, which focussed on strengthening the social networks of Salbke. An empty store was used as a space for organising a book collection and to engage the residents in an open, neighborly participative process. With advice from a group of professionals, a building program was agreed upon, and several designs for an open-air library were produced. Some twenty thousand books were collected and, with over a thousand beer crates (!!!) a 1:1 scale model of the preferred design was constructed on the site. This temporary building was the venue for a small two-day reading and poetry festival.
The success of the initiative helped to attract the necessary funding from the German Federal Government to construct the facility, which opened in 2009. Prefabricated pieces from a recently-demolished building from the 1960s were re-used to cover the facades of the new building. A thick wall containing shelving for the books shelters an open air green space where people can read, and it culminates in a higher section that houses a cafeteria and a stage where primary school plays are performed, public readings are held and youth concerts are staged.
Open to the public twenty-four hours a day, the library is managed by the residents themselves who, without any checking or monitoring, freely borrow and return books. Although the new library has been vandalised on occasion, it is a fully functioning public facility.

Urban Experiment leads to a New Type of Public Amenity!

Open Air Library = 2010 Joint Winner of the European Prize for Urban Public Space and the 2011 Brit Insurance Architecture Award. Click on image for more information.

This Open Air Library is located in the Salbke district of Magdeburg, one of Germany’s shrinking cities where the public library was closed. The residents of this economically depressed neighborhood organised to collect and share books in an open-air library that they developed with the architects KARO and Architektur+Netzwerk. The building re-uses prefabricated pieces from a demolished building to create a “green living room” sheltered from the noise of the street. The graffiti is by local youths.

From the project description: This project was the result of an urban planning experiment called “City on Trial”, which focussed on strengthening the social networks of Salbke. An empty store was used as a space for organising a book collection and to engage the residents in an open, neighborly participative process. With advice from a group of professionals, a building program was agreed upon, and several designs for an open-air library were produced. Some twenty thousand books were collected and, with over a thousand beer crates (!!!) a 1:1 scale model of the preferred design was constructed on the site. This temporary building was the venue for a small two-day reading and poetry festival.

The success of the initiative helped to attract the necessary funding from the German Federal Government to construct the facility, which opened in 2009. Prefabricated pieces from a recently-demolished building from the 1960s were re-used to cover the facades of the new building. A thick wall containing shelving for the books shelters an open air green space where people can read, and it culminates in a higher section that houses a cafeteria and a stage where primary school plays are performed, public readings are held and youth concerts are staged.

Open to the public twenty-four hours a day, the library is managed by the residents themselves who, without any checking or monitoring, freely borrow and return books. Although the new library has been vandalised on occasion, it is a fully functioning public facility.

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This is a site for Meta Brunzema's growing collection of useful and inspiring green economy resources and projects.

ABOUT META BRUNZEMA:

Meta Brunzema is the principal of Meta Brunzema Architect P.C. (MBAPC). Established in 1998, MBAPC is a design practice that produces innovative architecture and urban design. Clients include the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the Rockefeller University, the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, the Lower East Side Ecology Center, the Durst Organization and numerous private clients. The firm’s work has been published in Metropolis, Architecture Magazine and the New York Times.

MBAPC’s projects are often investigations, instigations, experiments - collaborative efforts to shape a more sustainable and equitable society. Brunzema writes about this approach in a book chapter for "Feminist Practices: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Women in Architecture" (Ashgate Publishing).

Since 2000, Brunzema has been on the faculty at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where she teaches graduate-level design studio, integrated building systems and history/ theory.

Brunzema holds a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Environmental Design Science from Dalhousie University in Canada. She is a fellow of the Institute for Urban Design and a LEED accredited professional.

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