European competition 2010, honourable mention
Client: Central Universitary Library, Cluj Napoca
Gross area: 4.500 m²
New storage building with open shelf acces, at BCU "Lucian Blaga", Cluj Napoca
EXTENSION OF THE CENTRAL LIBRARY CLUJ NAPOCA
"Un livre ni commence ni finit; tout au plus fait-il semblant" S. Mallarmé
Argument for a timeless house.
Our house is a timeless one, because time can't be found anymore today, than in its absence. Losing our ability to live in time, to live the time, we have been pushed out of the existential space of the time, says Juhani Pallasmaa (in "The Space of Time - Mental Time in Architecture") . We increasingly live more outside of the continuum of time, and we live only in the space. In this world of multidimensional space, we are continually brought back in a Euclidean space, limited to its three dimensions. The library raise time, includes it, contains it and thereby cancel it. It is, as Foucault calls ( in "Heterotopia" ), a place of all times, that is itself inaccessible and outside of the time. This fact facilitate to rediscover it, as the whole history of humanity to its origins could be accessible to an immediately knowledge. A quiet, slow house, in wich you can wander freely, every time through different spaces.
A house that doesn't reveal itself to the street, but pulses, shudders, spreads glimpses of light and shadow. It's a presence that you can feel without knowing it. The approaching is made gradually and slowly, from the street to the sidewalk, than on the descending ramp that wraps the house, revealing its base and than the underneath: the large public space of the buried ground floor, penetrated by the exterior space and connecting the house with the garden. The entrance in the cube is striking and unexpected: the house is bigger on the inside than the outside. The speed decreases more and more, pater noster's platform became bearer of persons is transformed into the weightlessness reason, to the stillness; you cross intro another world, where time stops or changes its sense. Library expands indefinitely; it wished, like Borges's Library of Babel, to be infinite, boundless and without center, although composed of identical cells. It has a labyrinthic clarity because the labyrinth remains the unique architecture model able to give thickness and density to the Castle (Francoise Choay). In the abbey of Melk, Umberto Eco created the ideal library, which was formed by superimposing two images: the labyrinth and the world map; a labyrinth representing allegorically the world, spacious for those who enter, but extremely narrow for those who turn back.
The cube is a house wrapped around books, in which the sounds disappear and the light fades, the reality curls, curves, a world of proximity, tactile and detail. A dense world where the light flows, entering from above. An inside separated from the outside, which contains the outside, a world within world ( within world ). Like the work of Genpei Akasegawa, "Canned Universe" ( a container with label re-applied on the inner surface ) the entire universe, including us, is contained in the library. Nevertheless , the only thing the library tells, is that the truth is outside; the cube sends always outside, inside of it you can only read shadows of reality. The understanding of the cube sends outside itself, in the created nature, but from the outside you cannot fully understand it ( it is covered by reflections, by a vegetal filter . The only way to understand it is going through (reading the book).
His only contact with the outside world is through the transparent tiny gaps, lenses that flips back the reality ( previously overturned by the sense of sight) lenses coming in or out. The truth is in the man and in the nature, in the native garden, outside of the cube, not in the library.
A book tells everything. Therefore, the cube is self-referential for all approaches level, it is identical to itself at all levels of its structure ( the book ). All the rest are non-words.