The task of the Patrimonial and Universal Library is the housing and protection of Cultural and Intellectual Texts - a foundation stone of the intellectual community. For the BnL a compact, energy efficient building volu- me houses a wide range of functional entities.
A transparent imposing, but at the same time invi- ting, facade fronts onto the Avenue John F. Kennedy. Internal functions unfold sequentially from this entran- cejesture; Foyer +, Café (with upper level Conference + seminar rooms), next the Reading Room – a landscape of terraced workstations and bookshelves. The princi- ple building block is located deep within the building, a central and compact archive over five levels. This secure core is encased by public spaces and forms a plateau on top of which the largest bookshelf area and reading-deck is found.
The principle facade material is large format red pre- cast concrete panels - a patchwork due to a variety of surface treatments (water/sand-jeting, acid washing). The architectural intention is homogeneity, a material unity of the overall building volume, with an undercur- rent of surface articulation. The archive plateau is en- cased in a bastion-like wrapping of stone-filled Gabion cages.
Planning prioritized energy efficiency; technical instal- lations take second place in favour of an activating of the buildings thermal mass to engender a sustainable interior climate. Geothermal heat pumps are installed below the foundation plate and on the roof photovol- taic panels. Interior materials were chosen for their thermally absorbing capacity to allow night-purging, an activating of the building mass to dampen temperature extremes. The cradle-to-cradle principle was wherever possible the referent in choosing materials. The wide- span roof structure in laminated timber is, via air cir- culation within the roof layer, also thermally activated.