Architecture for learning-A A +A
Monday, October 8, 2012
WHEN the famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto conceptualized his winning entry for a library design competition in Viipuri during the 1920s, he did more than just impressing other later architects with his “free section.”
This refers to a planning technique that promotes spatial unity and continuity. [By the way, Viipuria (in Finnish, or Vyborg in English) is a town in Leningrad Oblast, Russia.]
Aalto considered the most important quality that a space, like a library, should induce in its users—a keenness toward enriching their knowledge.
The importance of day-lighting is underscored in Viipuri’s architecture through skylights and fenestrations in reading areas, elements that combined dramatically well with the dynamic forms introduced into its interiors. It is a clear exemplification of light and architecture working together to satisfy the needs of its users.
The same consideration was applied in the library building perched on an elevated portion of the University of San Carlos Technological Center (USC-TC) in Talamban.
Apart from taking advantage of its secluded location and the panorama that it affords, it is perfect for quiet moments needed in a library space.
More importantly, the architects made sure that natural lighting would be instrumental in helping create the desired interior feel.
The library building, known as the Joseph Baumgartner Learning Resource Center, is the newest addition to the growing development of the USC-TC and is considered as the largest building of such kind in the country. According to the USC website, Fr. Joseph Baumgartner, whom the building is named after, is the university’s “library founder, author, editor, scholar and priest.”
Inaugurated in March, it was designed by architects and the USC Architecture Department faculty members Richeto Alcordo, Bela Lanyi, Jensen Racho, Kimberly Gultia, Raymundo Dinglasa and the late Bro. Antonio Andres Flores. Thanks to these architects’ sensitivity to the library’s ideal ambience, day-lighting is also expected to reduce energy consumption in the building and that adds up to its “green” points in terms of design.
There is one feature though, conceptualized by its architects, that could have completed the sustainable character of the building. This is the roof garden, which would have been both a naturally appealing and functional outdoor space.
A roof garden absorbs rainwater for utilization in other water needs of the building, lessening rainwater runoff to low-lying parts of the surrounding areas and its often inefficient drainage system, thus minimizing flooding.
The roof garden, which is one of another famous architect Le Corbusier’s “Five Points in Architecture,” gives back to nature what was taken away from it when the building was erected on natural ground. Roof gardens are slowly gaining popularity in contemporary buildings to reinforce awareness of sustainable architecture.
It is hoped that this library building will soon join this admirable group of green-topped, environment-friendly structures.
Being a venue for satisfying curiosity and knowledge-craving, the new library building is an important “iconic” structure in the USC-TC complex. Thus, its architecture is even more important in evoking the desired passion for advancing one’s intellect by wading through the plethora of reading materials that are enshrined in this building.
By underscoring efficient planning and interior day-lighting, the architects were able to achieve the function that matches the building type.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 09, 2012.