THE HUB Future Library

International Competition / 2°Prize
Project Team
Santi Musmeci
Sebastiano Maccarrone

Description read more Here’s a contraction: as a civilization we have never been so strategically positioned to access and consume information, yet we are not capitalizing from it. The latest numbers by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development clearly show that there has been no improvement in basic literacy skills in the past 50 years. That is to say that a teenager living in 2013 has the same skills his/her grandparents had at the same age. This is simply shocking, it highlights the failure of the traditional teaching system, but it also stresses how society has not been able to take advantage of the new technologies to empower people. Knowledge is there, readily accessible, so why are people not encouraged to master it? Here’s a good example. Today, libraries are at a crossroads. The traditional concept of library itself is being challenged, so is its the effectiveness of its business model. We argue that the so-called digital revolution makes the traditional concept of library redundant; while at the same time offers a unique opportunity for transformation, one which must be embraced now. How many people do you see reading a paper book on public transport these days? They are using mobile digital devices to access information. They are not giving up on information; they are simply shifting the model. And that is precisely why we argue that contemporary libraries are not about books anymore: they are about people accessing information and knowledge, sharing that information and connecting with each other. Like in your e-reader device or your smartphone, books are not stored in bookshelf, but in a virtual storage – a cloud if you like. And with no books there is no need for tables and chairs. People are free – and encouraged - to access to information with small digital devices and to sit where they like in a welcoming open space. The new concept allows people to explore the space, to make it their own and to interact with each other in a welcoming environment. An environment inspired by the concept of freedom: to read, move, share, communicate and interact. This project is not all about architecture. It’s also about the community. We are championing the creation of a space where people are truly welcomed, not just as users, but also as stakeholders. We are saying, reject the top-to-bottom approach, give people a voice in terms of how they want this space to work. The space will allow people to create content which will be stored within the cloud. The Hub will be organized in two areas: a ‘physical’ space and a ‘virtual’ space. The physical space concept design start from the idea of the ancient ‘agora’, that very same space used by the ancient Greek civilization as a gathering place for people meet and share information. It's characterized by a flat surface where functions are "carved" in the floor slab, in order to leave a clear view of the whole space and to let people discover from above all the on going events inside the library by walking trough the space. Auditorium, classroom, meeting areas, seats are beneath the pavement level and they are separated from the main space by sliding glass dividers. The construction of the library is simplified by the modularity of the space. Each module is precast and it accommodate a specific function: seats, info point, auditoriums, classrooms, service, learning point, circulation are all defined by a module or by a combination of them. Thanks to its modularity the Hub can be developed in a range of various sizes: S, M, L, XL and still keeping its goal. This flexibility give to the library the opportunity to be built everywhere around the world, from a narrow site in between the chinese Hutongs to a large area as Central Park in New York. The freedom of the library is also in its design possibilities and not only in its meaning. Functions are divided by quantity of people involved in, so we have single learning point that encourage individuals to explore their own interest and group learning areas where classes take places and where people learn from each others. The library virtual space its form by a online App available for all digital devices, and its purpose is not only to consult the library database, but it works as a real social network between people. Users can meet others who share the same interest, organize events that could intrigue the community, sharing knowledge and experiences. They can keep the records of all the books they read and create their own personal library. The goal of the app is to create a social network that can let people meet in person instead of isolate them from the reality. The future library will note stand alone but will be collaborating with other organizations to give people access to a wide range of services that meet their needs, like universities, schools, hospitals, drive school, public and private organizations.