After a hefty contextual analysis of Sara D. Roosevelt Park, a handful of structural studies in the form of laminated chip-board models and a number of facade studies [many based on photos from last summer's trip to japan] I've tried to put my ideas on paper. What does a contemporary library mean to me and how can design play a role in manifesting or speaking to that? As usual I wrote this before i even thought of drawing or building:
Through understanding the larger site context, I recognized the scope of history contained within the Bowery, and more importantly how it has manifested itself and spread out over the past decades. That being said, my intention is to bring the focus of my site analysis, a study of Sara D. Roosevelt park, and the contemporary creative history (i.e. musical, written, and artistic) of the Bowery together to form a library. Being that the lower east side contains a large amount of music venues, right across the park from our site, I began thinking about how digitalized not only textual information has become, but also how digital musical information is.
Music has become a downloaded commodity as opposed to a tangible art form. Instead of picking up a CD or record, looking at the album art and reading the liner notes, one simply clicks a mouse.
Artists have now taken their works to the streets, especially in the bowery, due to the lack of galleries and monies going towards their work. Writers are relegated to talking amongst themselves about their lost craft and only get their creations showcased if they get lucky.
In order to get people in the 21st century to come to a library, they must be engaged. Therefore I would like to propose a library, that serves as an incubator for the arts. Complete with not only LPs, CDs, and tapes, but also a performance space, radio station, and outlets for artists and writers. The radio station would broadcast from the library (thus getting people to come from the ‘expanded’ site of the LES and SoHo) and the disc jockeys, when not broadcasting, will serve as the librarians, being that the know a good deal about music. Additionally there will be sections with musician’s biographies, listening stations and galleries of famous album cover prints and concert photos.
As for the writers; there will be a section for people to submit their “zines” or personal publications and they will be free for the users of the library to take once they are approved to be shelved. Lastly there will be a space for artists to express themselves, a simple bare-bones space with walls that are covered in removable floor to ceiling canvases which can be painted or wheat-pasted upon.
The building will ultimately relate to the street by breaking the sequence of masonry facades while keeping with the old rhythm. This can be accomplished by spanning floor-plates jutting out, while the flatter portion of the façade keeps to the old masonry construction and pattern. The pedestrian will be able to therefore, immediately recognize the building and its function as a landmark of what this neighborhood’s history was and what it has the potential to become.
Projected floor by floor breakdown:
Basement: Artists Space, Bicycle Garage, archive
Street Level: Entry desk(s), Physical Music [stacks]
2: More Physical Music, Books, Listening Stations [reading space]
3: Performance Space [Auditorium]
4: Performance Space, Bar [Auditorium]
5: Gallery, Courtyard
6: Radio Station (staff offices), courtyard void
Similar to the way that the fruit stores showcase their wares outside, the entrance will have two librarians seated by the door (recessed area in structure) so that any questions can be fielded immediately.
Most of the spaces will be easily incorporated into the current open floor-plate structural scheme through recessed areas [browsing sections for music & books]. These areas do not need walls as sufficient intimacy is created through solely being recessed down into the floor. However, the performance space will be double height. The listening spaces will be in moments of the actual façade (as it is composed of forms pushing outwards towards the street). There can also be an outdoor courtyard on floor along with the galleries). The artists space will be located on the basement level with the bike garage.
Drawings and model pictures will come.. Otherwise I am concerned with exploring the structural aspects of the library at this point in physical models (NOT rhino) and spacial programing.