The Rotterdam Central Library has lots more to offer than books. The iconic public building by Jacob Bered Bakema is part of the NAI (Netherlands Architecture Institute) and it features a modernist stepped design, expansive windows, and a huge cascade of yellow pipes. An ideal space for studying, meeting friends, reading, watching films and discovering new music, the library now boasts a new green roof complete with a beehive!
The Rotterdam Central Library launched in 1983 as an “open, inviting, centrally located building that is accessible to everyone.” Its main feature is its striking array of yellow-painted round pipes, which are reminiscent of the Pompidou Centre. Its stepped façade faces the city center, bringing plenty of natural light in while providing lots of area for enjoying greenery and fresh air outside.
Located in one of these steps is the newly opened green roof which overlooks the lively outdoors market and provides tables for enjoying tea or coffee. This green area was subsidized by a municipality initiative that aims to make this great Dutch city “climate-proof”. In addition to the green roof, a beehive was placed to celebrate “2012, The Year Of The Bee” and teach visitors how the cute pollinating insects depend on us and how we depend on them.
The library’s stairs and elevators are located at the core of the building. These conduits take people throughout the library’s six floors, which hold approximately 250,000 books! Sun doesn’t reach the central spaces, so big pendant lamps were installed that match the building’s grand scale. A cool ceiling with light reflecting mirrors decorates one corner of a room, adding a modern touch to the interiors.
The library’s furniture was designed by Dutch Studio Makkink & Bey, and it plays an important role in defining shared and isolated spaces. Other furnishings create perfect semi-private spaces for co-working or studying in small groups. Rotterdam’s Central Library is a modern and open cultural space for learning that welcomes a whopping 3.4 million visitors each year.
Photos © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat