In the Woluwe-Saint-Pierre Municipal in Belgium, ‘Plus Office Architects’ have designed the country’s first passive house library. Setting a new standard for environmentally and energy efficient public structures, the distinctive building is recognized by its shimmering gold cladding.
The library operates as the front of a school campus, while linking the educational facilities to the neighbourhood and its residents. Seen from afar, the building nestles in-between a wooded area among a residential area. Wrapped completely in golden metal panels, the design has historic references to the golden letters seen on old manuscripts dating back to the middle ages. The façade was chosen to reflect its surroundings while radiating a golden glow which is framed by its green context.
Internally, the spatial organisation follows a grid which has influenced the layout of shelving and even the rhythm of windows. Promoted as a welcoming space for exchanging ideas and dialogue, the interiors have been kept neutral and functional – more modest than its exterior – with generous area and circulation due to the evolution of the relationship between technology and libraries.
Central to the plan is the patio garden that regulates the heat and daylight needed for building energy consumption and allows for outdoor reading. Achieving the ‘passive house’ construction standard, the extremely low energy consumption is due to energy features such as the use of a heat pump, photovoltaic panels and heavy insulation.
Instinct Furniture BLOG, mostly about cool libraries, furniture and design – keeping you abreast of our world. (Source: Designboom. All images by Filip Dujardin).