Stewart Hollenstein & Stewart Architecture’s Green Square Library has been announced the winner of the AR Library awards, alongside two highly commended and two commended buildings for books
The joint development of a library with a public piazza in Sydney, Australia, has been chosen by a judging panel comprised of Clare Wright, Giancarlo Mazzanti and Demetri Porphyrios. The jury praised the project’s contribution to community infrastructure, in its preservation of public space and de-institutionalisation of the library as type, as exemplary of the potential of the library as a public programme.
Green Square library and piazza water feature by Tom Roe (photographer)
The winner is joined by two highly commended projects: The Pinch in Shuanghe village, Yunnan Province, China, by Olivier Ottevaere and John Lin of the University of Hong Kong, and Maya Somaiya Library in Kopargaon, Maharashtra, India by Sameep Padora + Associates.
Giancarlo Mazzanti said of the winning and highly commended projects that ‘Green Square, Maya Somaiya and The Pinch reaffirm architecture’s potential to enhance relationships between inhabitants. The Pinch exemplifies how temporary and small buildings can transform and help to build a meeting place in a rural setting.’
Demetri Porphyrios also commented on Green Square: ‘this “community pantechnicon” unites contemporary library uses with diverse community activities in a thoughtful, elegant and generous manner. Both The Pinch and the Maya Somaiya Library schemes are exemplary prototypes of constructional inventiveness built under extreme scarcity of materials and funds. They celebrate autochthonous placemaking.’
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Pinch 1 elevation
Two additional projects, both archives, were also commended by the jury: the NRW Landesarchiv in Duisburg, Germany, by O&O Baukunst, and the CTLES archive extension in Bussy-Saint-Georges, France, by Antonini Darmon. As highlighted by Mazzanti, ‘the hermeticism of book depositories is a world away from the community engagement of the winning and highly commended projects, calling for different architectural solutions’.
Clare Wright has commented on the commended projects: ‘the CTLES archive is a sensitive extension. The cladding of this almost windowless box turns an out-of-town repository into an extraordinary shimmering object in the landscape. Meanwhile, it is apt that the NRW Landesarchiv, Duisburg’s most prominent public building, is a landmark in brick, embedded in a warehouse, in a locale of fading heavy industry’.
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The six winning and commended projects were all visited by an independent critic before a decision was made on the winner, and are published in the AR December 2018/January 2019 issue, which will soon be available on our online shop. The judges’ full shortlist of 15 buildings for books can be viewed here.