Innovation That Matters

Unique library

Outdoor seafront library encourages rest and love of books

Work & Lifestyle

Designed by a team inspired by nature, Bulgaria’s seashell-shaped library provides seating, shade, bookshelves and a small stage.

Located in Varna, Bulgaria, the Rapana library was created by a team of architects – Yuzdzhan Turgaev, Boyan Simeonov, Ibrim Asanov and Mariya Aleksieva – who were keen to encourage the tactile enjoyment of reading books, as opposed to e-readers. The timber structure design echoes that of a seashell, a fitting approach for the city considered to be the country’s marine capital.

Providing shady places to sit, shelving for more than one thousand books, and a small stage, the library is open air and open to the public. Made possible through parametric design, the final building is the culmination of more than twenty iterations and made from two-hundred and forty different pieces of wood. The designers hope impromptu music sessions and installations will take place on the stage and in and around the new structure.

Thoughtful, sustainable design is part of many smart cities’ plans for improved public spaces. In Indonesia, a microlibrary built from two thousand used ice cream buckets provides public seating and a multi-use space as well as being part of the country’s campaign to increase levels of literacy. In Boston, Massachusetts, solar-powered, connected e-ink signs and benches provide local news, charging docks and public seating. How could new technologies be combined with retrofitting projects to help bring less sustainable buildings and spaces closer to carbon neutrality?



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