Digital National Library 2.0 by Christian Burkhardt
June 17, 2011
Development of the bookcity Leipzig
Functional scheme digitization
Digital National Library 2.0
Revaluation of “Gutenbergplatz” Leipzig
Leipzig is a town of 500.000 inhabitants in Eastern-Germany, situated 180km in the south-east of Berlin. It was formally known as the European centre of printing. Thousands of publishing houses, printing companies, producers of paper and lots of book-shops were situated especially in the eastern part of the city. Nearly every German book printed before1943 was produced or published in Leipzig. This was what the wealth and international Importance of Leipzig were based on since the middle of the 19th century.
During the Second World War nearly all this „aesthetic“ industry was destroyed or heavily damaged. Leipzig lost its leading position as a german and European “town of books” forever.
Form my final year project I was occupied with the destroyed institutional centre of this area: The Gutenbergplatz. It was barely rebuilt after the war and has been transformed several times through the last 60 years. It has been for the most part out of use for about 15 years now.
My work reorganises the unsatifying urban building situation and creates new connections to the surroundings. For this I filled the great space with a new function interrelating to its earlier times:
Most often the digitisation of books and other cultural objects has been forced by commercial companies until today. A lot of concerns about copyright and the fact that all our cultural assets are going to be maintained by capital-oriented companies resulted in founding the « EUROPEANA » by the European Union.
It is an initiative that provides the founding of digital national libraries within the EU that digitilises all national books and cultural assets for themselves in public order.
This creates a new requirement of a special multi-functional building: a library building without books that simply creates, uses, manages and services a virtual library collection. It is a great engeneering laboratory that is introverted and extroverted at the same time. Users are able to use the whole collection on the internet, not necessarily needing to be on site. But they also will be able to use interactive medial workplaces and special medial rooms that give an interface to all new virtual collections of libraries, media libraries, archives, museums and cultural monuments of the world.
Regarding its historical context, the Digital National Library perfectly fits into the Gutenbergplatz.
The proximity to the existing National Library reinforces this proposition. My draft bases on the idea to connect the neighbouring « Lene-Voigt » park (whitch is actually the end of a long thin green-belt area through eastern Leipzig) with « Alter Johannisfriedhof » (formally a graveyard which is now the park of a museum). In this way this creates a direct connection to the centre of Leipzig at once.
Currently this connetion is blocked by the existing development. So a part of these ramshackle buildings will be torn down and replaced by the new library building that will be situated in the centre of Gutenbergplatz at the new axis connecting the parks. This central position makes the library an interface between public space, virtual collection, digitisation area and server area, urbanism and green space.
The building is partitioned into three parts :
1. Public part with café and storage devices museum in the overhanging upper floors
2. Semi-public part with library, media-boxes, different workspaces and work-lounge
3. Non-public part with the monumental high-technology server area (situated in 3 underground levels straddling the entire Gutenbergplatz), digitisation area and administration area in the upper floors.
Architecture student: Christian Burkhardt
University: University of applied Sciences Leipzig
Professor: Prof. Annette Menting & Prof. Andreas Wolf
Semester: 10/2009 - 02/2010, 12th semester
Category: cultural building
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