In today’s world, digital drive is the basis for everything. It makes business sense to want an international connection and it also is common sense to want everything available at the touch of a button with instantaneous gratification. But how does tradition play into this new realm of technology?
A building opened on Oct. 4, 2012 to a regal pomp and ceremony that is trying to bridge the very gap between new technologies and historically significant products. It is the Boekenberg or “Book Mountain” in Spijkenisse, Netherlands.
It is a controversial building designed by Dutch firm, MVRDV. The controversy is that, even though the building contains more than a public library, people are questioning whether there is really a need for a new $39 million library when everything is now digitalized with ebooks and the internet.
Book Mountain contains a vast book collection, reading areas, commercial facilities, offices, an auditorium, conference rooms and an exhibition space. It is just one building that is part of a greater plan for the inner city of Spijkenisse.
The structure is a huge glass and timber outer shell in a 5-tiered pyramid shape with a surface of 10,000 square meters. The exterior of the building refers to a traditional Dutch barn style typology, in shape and choice of material; as a memento to the agricultural history of the Spijkenisse Village.
It uses cutting edge technologies with a climate-controlled public space, solar protection, natural ventilation and an underground heat system. The natural ventilation relies on a system of an independent adiabatic cooler based on a grey water circuit and the building also utilizes a dry cooler, phase change materials, automatic sun screens, shading plants, a façade responding to weather conditions and bookshelves that spiral around the interior that are made of recycled waste material.
The climate system is a carefully balanced collection of sustainable features which together form an innovative new, highly sustainable system. The climate system was developed in close collaboration with Arcadis Engineers and was last year nominated for De Vernufteling award, declaring the library an inventive and resourceful project with social and economical importance.
This building is designed so that the books are safe, protected and promoted to the public.
Some people think that this is not a useful expense but is there a better way to implement old and new world technologies as a combined structure? Is it really necessary to completely eliminate the past to move forward in new designs? Can and do people really want to survive in only a digital world?