City Library, Mannheim

The city of Mannheim is currently planning the construction of a new city library. As a resident of the city, this planning task fascinated me from the very beginning. So, as part of my studies, this student design was created.

The library building as a whole is currently undergoing a major transformation. Digitization, new media and the need for common spaces are making new demands on library construction. In my design I try to apply different solutions to these challenges. In the new building, various rooms for quiet and concentrated work but also active spaces to promote interaction and communication are available. In addition to the inventory of the library, programs such as a makerlab with 3-D printers, a customer center for public transport, a roof terrace with urban gardening, an exhibition area, café and bistro are also designed to lure the people into the building. For events, a large multi-function room and seminar rooms are available.

Historic block border
Around 1600 AD, the construction of the inner city of Mannheim as a planned city started. The city layout reveals a chessboard-like pattern in Block development. The so-called “squares” are named as on a chessboard in letters and numbers. Even today, the perimeter block development dominates the city center and serves as a model for the design. The library is located in the edge of the block in the introverted and quiet part of the public building.

In square N2 lies Dalbergplatz. It is named after the historic Mannheimer personality Wolfgang Heribert von Dalberg and houses a monument in his honor. Dalberg co-founded the National Theater and wrote some plays himself. In the adjoining square N3 is also the Dalberghaus, which houses the music library. Dalbergplatz cuts through the perimeter of the block and forms an urban public space with a crew of people. The “squarer relief” on the library facade symbolizes this process.

Model house A
For the development of the planned city of Mannheim, four exemplary model houses were developed by the planners. This should serve as a template and example for the builders in the development of Mannheim. The model House A provided a representative building on the Piazza. The arcade provides protection from rain and invite passers-by to enter the public building. Public programs on the ground floor, such as a branch of the local public transport network, an exhibition space and a bistro, promote the integration between the square and the building. The courtyard with its lively bridges and building access opens up as an active area of ​​the library to the square.

Roof shape
In the city center of Mannheim one finds a variety of different roof shapes and heights. Diversity in height is taken up and used in the draft. The roof has a higher airspace for the multi-function room on the last floor, roof terraces for strolling and urban gardening, as well as a storage room for garden utensils.

In the facade, areas with full clinker and glazed areas alternate with a suspended structure. In the decoration, this is based on the traditional ornamentation of Gesmims and Pilaster. As on many facades in the city center, wall and ceiling connections and thus parts of the internal organization are visible on the facade.

The semi-transparent areas in the facade consist of vertical rope constructions to which ceramic tiles in the format of the clinker are attached in the usual laying pattern. These tiles are twisted at different angles. All in all, they create an exciting relief in which dark and light parts alternate.

Due to the suspension, the joints are translucent. Through this, a little light gets into the building during the day and creates a play of shadow and light in the interior. At night, the effect turns around and the interior lighting shines through the joints to the outside. The new city library lights up and stages the traditional masonry.