Varna National Library Competition

The building is spread as follows:

Ground floor area: 2540 m2

Total built up area: 21150 sqm

Landscaping area: 920 sqm

Underground parking lot area: 10750 sqm with 290 parking spaces

We have conceived this library bearing in mind our own experiences as readers each time we open a new book. Every new story is a journey hidden within the pages of a book, every new hero discovers the world around him for the first time through your eyes as the reader. We tried imagining this library as a story in itself with you, the reader, being the main character from the very moment you lay your eyes on the massive and seemingly impenetrable structure and want to discover more about it. The curves of the landscape pull you towards a secret pathway, narrow and windy and not so well lit at the beginning only to open up around you later on, letting you perceive the space around layers upon layers. The core of the book, or in this case, the library, is the tall, well-lit atrium that goes all the way up till the last floor letting you glimpse a bit of what happens on each level without revealing all, each level in itself having a story of its own. The static and dynamic go hand in hand in molding the aspect of the building: while inert, rough and austere in its outside appearance, the stories it tells on the inside are a whole different matter, but only to those who dare venture on a journey of discovery. Although the exterior, stone-like facade bears functional traits, such as providing intimacy for the people inside from the gazes of the pedestrians and inhabitants, preserving the general architectural tone of the surrounding buildings and trying to intrude as little as possible in the lives of the people living on all three sides of it, it also conveys a certain metaphor. It talks about the pathway of learning and of discovery we are so familiar with from the books we read; it talks about the duality of all things around us and about perceiving things differently each time you look at them. The structure is divided in two on the first couple of levels so as to create this pathway that pulls you in from both directions and guides you to the center. Once there you discover each and every floor is different, each partly concealed and partly visible. For the first two floors the building is divided in two: the main wing of the library and the events hall that should have a life of its own and function independently as a hub for artists and performers that never rests. The library itself is an open and sunlit place and also very accessible to the public of all ages on the first floors, becoming more and more specialized and catering to certain needs as it goes up. The entrance to both areas is slightly lower than the level of the sidewalk so as to let the landscape guide you in. Also, towards the main boulevard there is a curved lawn designed as a meeting place but also as an open air place for projections and shows. The two wings of the building meet at the fourth and respectively second floor and coil around the main atrium, therefore making it possible to see the hallway and the inner courtyards from all the other levels.

Date: november 2015 Client: Varna Municipality, Bulgaria Skills: architecture Website: www.varnalibrary.bg/