05. Oct 2010

Now read on…
The new library and media centre in Connewitz near Leipzig/D

Text: Susanne Brenninkmeijer
Photos: Christian Richters

The reading rooms in the new library and media centre in Connewitz near Leipzig/D designed by Berlin-based architect Léon Wohlhage Wernik extend eleven metres into the urban space. The projecting roof gives rise to a small covered public space that allows the new building to stand confident and proud against the adjacent historic urban backdrop. The strong presence of the building and its consequential intensive dialogue with the world around it mean that light plays a primary role. Not too little and not too much was apparently the goal. Sounds simple, but reality tells another story.

The University of Economics, Technology and Culture, the largest University of Applied Sciences in Saxony, Germany currently has around 7000 enrolled students. Given the growing number of students and the fact that new faculties were being introduced, the university building needed expanding. The restructuring of the cam-pus gave rise to two straight-edged and apparently interlocked buildings on the former car park area on the corner of Gustav-Freytag-Strasse. The jury’s statement justifying the twin building as winner of the 2009 City of Leipzig Prize for Architecture declared that “with the design of the new library the team of architects from Léon Wohlhage Wernik in Berlin have succeeded in integrating the ensemble into the urban landscape, thereby creating an important link between the university building and a block of residential housing”. The ensemble they describe consists of two sculpturally formed sections of building. One comprises the library and the other the university’s media centre, which in turn accommodates the Faculty of Print and Media Technology. Located in the south of Leipzig, the new building with its clear, clean lines stands vis-à-vis the neo-classical main university building, separated by Gustav-Freytag-Strasse. The architects made optimum use of the corner situation, by creating two functionally and spatially separate structures which give rise to a new public square and thoroughfare. Given the projecting roof that supports two upper storeys, this compact ensemble generates two covered outdoor spaces without forfeiting too much space that might have been used to fulfil the university’s requirements. The overhang from the media centre is oriented towards the library and connects with the latter to create what can justly be referred to as a two-part architectural sculpture. The facades are tiled with white glass mosaics and twinkle in the sun – not that there is a lot of sunshine in Leipzig. The strong reflections on the solid sections of façade coupled with the large windows enhance the way the perforated façade toys with natural and artificial light. The way the architecture is designed […]
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The full version of the article can be found in PLD No.73

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