I don’t believe in constructing a large space and then making partitioned areas within it and calling them rooms. A room should be an extension of self. In a large commercial auditorium I’d speak one way, but if I gave a talk in the Baptistery in Florence I think I would say something I’ve never said before.
Glare is bad in the library:wall space is important, little spaces where you can adjourn with a book are tremendously important. So you might say that the world is put before you through the books. You don’t need many.,. you need just good ones, and there is no such thing as looking for a book through the catalogue. You don’t just ask for a catalogue book. it would die in the library.
The library is not a place in which you are thumbing through the files and catalogues and discovering a book. You know this yourself. Now,if you had a library where you just had broad tables… very broad
Maybe table is a court, not just table, but sort of a flat court upon which books lie, and these books are open. They are planned very very cleverly by the librarian to open at pages that humiliate you with the marvellous drawings. things that have been recorded, finished and spread before you, buildings that are magnificent.
If a teacher could make comment on these books, so a seminar is spontaneous, this would be marvellous. And so you have a library which has just long tables, and plenty of room to sit, one side with a pad and pencil, and the books are out in the middle.
You can look through them, but you can’t take them out. They are simply there to invite you to the lesson of the library. The library is just a classroom, and you can make it so, and looking at this element. ‘Library is different from library.
The warmest feeling I have toward my work is when I can make something I feel belongs to architecture and doesn’t belong to me. The role of the critic is to distinguish things that belong to architecture from those that don’t. What kills criticism is ‘I like it’I dont like it’. That’s not criticism, that’s judgement.
The brick was always talking to me, saying you’re missing an opportuniy. The weight of the brick makes it dance like a fairy above and groan below.
I have sets of history, and I never touch anything but the first volume and there only the first chapters, and I read them over and over as though I’ve never read them before. I try to imagine what Volume Zero would be like, or Volume Minus One. I marvel at the fact that a room was made, that the column emerged from the wall.
It appears simple and graceful, no decorative elements are resorted to, because I did not feel in the air the approval for decorative. I felt the striving not for severity but for the purity that I sense in a Greek temple. The great reading room of the British Museum served Karl Marx well because he had great powers of concentration, but a large reading room is really for browsing, for deciding what books you want to read, for boy meets girl.
The building is synthesis of brick and concrete. The entrance hall is at the center of the building. A great light well encased in concrete with immense circular openings give an immediate view of the books and intimate the buildings function as library. The curved stair leads from the entrance hall up to the reading areas encased in brick. The plan and section explain how this two-fold construction expresses two-fold function. The outer fold of brick looks out to its surrounding, the walls broken with windows which become more expansive with each floor. The inner fold of concrete, looking into the glass-covered entrance hall, carries the heavy tiers of books.