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Hunters Point Community Library

A Vessel to Sail through Words

Steven Holl Architects

From the Library of Alexandria to Villa Adriana, from Michelangelo’s Laurentian library in Florence, to Ledoux’s imaginary library, to Henri Labrouste’s in Sainte-Genevieve and finally to the Library in Vyborg by Alvar Aalto. In form and complexity, in clarity, as a place of natural light, adjoined to great stacks of books, these and countless other libraries fed generations of human beings that have been amazed and inspired by these temples to the written word. In contrast to the pessimistic view of Victor Hugo, who believed that the printed word finally came to claim the glory of the stone, the printed word not only did not diminish the importance of buildings, but actually increased the fame and reputation of architecture in our world. Perhaps the temples to the meeting of the mind and the word are of such symbolic significance that their reputation can only expand. These demands and expectations are infinitely increased in our time as we have entered the digital era in which nothing is exempt from a massive reduction in size, except human beings themselves who are still mobile, restless and resisting final reduction. Here, at the Hunters Point Community Library, we are presented with incomparable intensity of different levels and different exposé to daylight and to each other’s company. Of course, each category of reader has their own allotted space but eye contact is always made possible with other spaces across, above and below. As if Adolf Loos’s Raumplan has been conjugated to the power of n. The imaginary library of Borges could be this labyrinth of reading places, books on shelves and computer desks. Here every category of reader will find its allotted place. The Library of Babel is a short story by the Argentine author (and librarian) Jorge Luis Borges, in which every conceivable book that was written or could have been written has a place. Indeed he was the director of the Argentina National Library in Buenos...

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