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Competition: Klaipėda library, Lithuania

An open international contest has been announced for a landmark new central public library and community centre in historic Klaipėda, Lithuania (Deadline: 4 June)

Organised by the Lithuanian Architects Union, the competition seeks proposals for a new 2,800m² library with capacity for up to 1,000 daily visitors and space for up to 150,000 items of scientific, fictional, cultural and children’s literature along with periodicals, films and audio.

The project, backed by Klaipėda City Municipality, will transform an undeveloped 7,090m² plot on Statybininkų Street in the southern part of the coastal city overlooking the Baltic Sea.

Klaipėda library competition site, Lithuania

Klaipėda library competition site, Lithuania

Klaipėda library competition site, Lithuania

According to the brief: ‘The new building will be the central public library of Klaipėda city municipality. The architecture of the new library should be perceived as an important public object to the city and produce a positive impact on the image and liveliness on the surrounding mass construction residential districts.

‘The goal of the new library is to strengthen and expand its role as a meeting and communication place for the residents of Klaipėda. The public library should become a safe, non-commercial space for self-education, creativity, leisure, communication, and work. Visitors should come here in search of knowledge, entertainment or simply led by a sense of community spirit to discuss, listen, or to have some quiet time.’

Lithuania is the most southern of the three Baltic States and home to a large number parks, forests and lakes along with a 90-kilometre shoreline. The provincial town of Klaipėda was transformed into a major tourist destination after King Friedrich Wilhelm III and Queen Louise fled to the area in response to Bonaparte’s invasion of Prussia.

Klaipėda library competition site, Lithuania

Klaipėda library competition site, Lithuania

Klaipėda library competition site, Lithuania

As the foremost ice-free port in the Eastern Baltic, Klaipėda was rapidly enlarged and transformed into a major fishing and marine base during the Soviet occupation of the country in the second half of the twentieth century.

Today the city is a popular destination for cruise ships and home to around 150,000 people. The latest competition will transform a large plot in the southern part of the city which is dominated by large numbers of post-war housing blocks.

The project aims to deliver a new library with both traditional and contemporary facilities along with a community centre featuring leisure, communication and meeting spaces for local residents.

Judges include the head of architecture at Klaipėda City Municipality Almantas Mureika; Saulius Juškys, architect and associate professor of Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts; and Donaldas Trainauskas of 4PLIUS Architecture Studio.

The overall winner, due to be announced in late June, will receive a €7,000 top prize. A second prize of €5,000, third prize of €3,000 and fourth prize of €1,000 will also be awarded.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is 2pm GMT on 4 June.

Contact details

Kristina Sirvidienė
Klaipėda City Municipality Administration
188710823
Liepu g. 11
Klaipeda
LT-91502
Lithuania

Tel: +370 46396104
Email: pirkimai@klaipeda.lt
Fax: +370 46396178

View the contract notice and visit the competition website for more information

The Word case study: Q&A with Steve McIntyre

The partner at FaulknerBrowns Architects discusses lessons learned designing a new national centre for the written word in South Shields, UK

Steve McIntyre

Steve McIntyre

Steve McIntyre

How did your project deliver a landmark new multi-functional community facility for South Tyneside?

The Word represents a real paradigm shift in the community library building typology, designed with careful consideration for both the unique character of South Shields and the changing role of the library in a wider context.

Much more than a repository for books, the building provides a physical and digital environment which enables each visitor to express their own creativity, providing a gateway to cultural, social and entrepreneurial exploration.

The immersive nature of the experiences, the diversity of the cultural and educational offer, and the powerful nature of the architecture combine to create a community asset which points to the future, underlining the importance of the library in today’s society.

The Word by FaulknerBrowns Architects

The Word by FaulknerBrowns Architects

Source: Image by Hufton+Crow

The Word by FaulknerBrowns Architects

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

The purity and strength of a circular building emerged from all of the influences and requirements set out by the urban grain, and the social and community ambitions. A large central atrium gives visual clarity to the scheme, allowing a grand gesture of civic quality to link all of the internal activities. The entrance is expressed externally as a modern portico, which uses full-height glazing to flood the building with light and create a strong visual relationship with the neighbouring public square.

The Word by FaulknerBrowns Architects

The Word by FaulknerBrowns Architects

Source: Image by Hufton+Crow

The Word by FaulknerBrowns Architects

The building’s appearance is inspired by the fanning out of the pages of a book and the material selection celebrates the sites distinctive industrial heritage including salt and coal mining; glass making; and shipbuilding. Three shades of terracotta panels respond to the rich stone hues of the neighbouring listed buildings.

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a new combined community centre and library for Klaipėda?

In creating The Word we worked extremely closely with the client to ensure that the building would capture the imagination of demographics not usually associated with the building type. This will be an important consideration if the library for Klaipėda is to become a diverse and inclusive space which provides opportunities for people of all ages and from all backgrounds.

The Word by FaulknerBrowns Architects

The Word by FaulknerBrowns Architects

Source: Image by Hufton+Crow

The Word by FaulknerBrowns Architects

Q&A with Gerda Antanaitytė

The competition coordinator discusses her ambitions for the contest

Gerda Antanaitytė

Gerda Antanaitytė

Gerda Antanaitytė

Why are your holding an international competition for a new community centre and library in Klaipėda?

The function of the library has greatly expanded in recent years. Regardless the traditional understanding of a library as a home for books, now it is the multidisciplinary place for cultural, recreational, self-educational and life-long learning needs. When planning the construction of a new library, it is necessary to take into account the trends of the change of libraries, which are highly diverse and depend on the city’s goals and financial capacity. We are hoping that the international competition with participants having different architectural experience and background will help Jury to find the best functional and aesthetic model for new Klaipėda City community centre and library.

What is your vision for the new building?

The new building of the Klaipėda city municipal public library will be situated in the southern part of the city. The plot for the new community centre and library is located at the intersection of two residential areas. These districts have 98,600 inhabitants, which accounts for 60 per cent of the total urban population, while currently the most accessible public cultural centre is Fishermen’s Cultural Palace (Taikos pr. 70). The emergence of a new modern community centre – a library – would activate the involvement of the population of the southern part of the city in communal and cultural activities.

The new building will be the central public library of Klaipėda city municipality. The architecture of the new library should be perceived as an important public object to the city and produce a positive impact on the image and liveliness on the surrounding mass construction residential districts. The public library should become a safe, non-commercial space for self-education, creativity, leisure, communication and work.

The library should welcome and introduce visitors to new ways of learning and cognition. The spaces of the new building and its surroundings must be flexible and efficient – able to adapt over long-term use and efficient in the multifunctionality of the uses. The designed library must be an innovative example of sustainable architecture. It is recommended to include low energy use, renewable energy design solutions. Passive and active energy efficiency measures should be integrated in architectural solutions.

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

Qualification requirements for the participants are basic – at least one of the team members has to be registered and qualified architect, that is, has to have the right to engage in design and/or architectural activities. We are hoping that low requirements will engage a wide range of architects to participate in the competition, including young practices and smaller emerging teams.

Participating projects will be published in the national media as well as in the journal dedicated to the competition. The winning design team selected by the Jury will be invited to negotiate the contract and to engage into to the next stage of the project. We believe that implementation of Klaipėda city municipal public library is for the best interest for the winning team and the competition contracting authority willing to represent excellent architecture in Klaipėda city.

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?

Open Ideas Competition for Summer Concert Stage and Open Competition for Health Care Centre are upcoming competitions planned by Klaipeda City Municipality Administration. In the further future architectural competitions are planned for regional stadium, Old Town buildings and city squares.

Are there any other similar community centre and library projects you have been impressed by?

We were greatly inspired by classic examples such as Viipuri Library by Alvar Aalto and the British library by Colin St John Wilson, as well recent examples:

· Pärnu Central Library designed by architects „3+1“ (Project Architects Markus Kaasik, Andres Ojari and Ilmar Valdur) built in 2008;

· Library Building in Bauska Winning Proposal in 2013 by A2SM architecture studio (Project Architects Aurimas Sasnauskas, Sla Malenko, Giedrius Mamavičius, Gabrielė Ubarevičiūtė)

· Book Mountain by MVRDV, located in Spijkenisse, The Netherlands (Year: 2003-2012)

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