oktober 2006

Library meets Outremeuse, Liege.


The realisation of “Médiacité” is progressing rapidly. The new site will be offering amusement, cultural, business and some commercial activities which will attract a large number of people. On the other side of the river Meuse the historical centre of Liège is situated. Many people from Benelux countries discover this new shopping area, because today’s Liège has a lot to offer. Between these two sparkling spots on both sides of the river you will find the island Outremeuse.

Outremeuse is not a place you would call attractive. Especially the smallest part of it looks overcrowded with parked cars and empty buildings in disrepair. Furthermore, there is the old motorway with cars speeding by endlessly. This place needs a strong new impulse to connect it to other public areas. The question is: “What kind of impulse?” At the least public functions for commercial and cultural purposes are needed. Moving the present library to the opposite side of Outremeuse is a possible solution.

The basis of a library is a book. In a library a book can be read, bought, borrowed and looked into. Based on these four activities a library can be divided into four “themes”: buying and reading books is a form of recreation, reading and looking into books a kind of meeting, looking into and borrowing books a way of searching and finally borrowing and buying books a form of commercialism. The connection between these four themes is the basis for my design.

Quai Churchill will be a square without parked cars. Cars can be parked in an underground parking garage. The square will be divided into two sections. The present level will show a meeting area with entrances to the library, the parking garage and the recreation square that is situated on a lower level connected to the river. The two squares will be separated by a horizontal commercial part of the library that will be slowly transformed into a tower. This tower, the “search part”, will house the library’s database. The tower is literally placed above the Meuse and will have no contact with the ground, thus comparing to reading a book which makes the reader loose contact with reality. The tower creates an interaction with the existing tower on the opposite side of the squares, to mark the squares.

To move the library to this part of Outremeuse will fill the gap between the new Médiacité and the historical city with a diversity of public functions, thus enabling Outremeuse to sparkle as well.