Book Mountain, Library Spijkenisse

Taking the form of mountain of books on the town s market square, Spijkenisse’s new library is both an advertisement and an invitation for reading. Stacking the buildings various functions produces its pyramidal form, which in turn, is wrapped in 480 meters of bookshelves and reading spaces.

Public library (3500 m2), environmental education centre (112 m2), chess club (140 m2), back office library (370 m2), retail (839 m2), commercial offices (510 m2), underground parking

Located in the centre of Spijkenisse, the library with a total surface area of 9.300m2 sits on the market square next to the historical village church. Besides the library the building houses the environmental education centre, a chess club, auditorium, meeting rooms, commercial offices and retail. The exterior of the library refers in shape and materiality to the traditional Dutch Farm, a reminder of the towns agricultural past, The library had to accommodate a number of other partly commercial functions. The stacking of this non-library programme forms a pyramidal base on which platforms are projected, housing the libraries bookshelves and shaping a powerful symbol: an advertisement for reading, its visible presence and invitation holding great significance for a community with 10 percent illiteracy. The book platforms are connected via wide stairs and together form a continuous route of 480 meters around the mountain to its peak where a café offers panoramic views over this Dutch Newtown.

Another reference to the towns agricultural past lies in the libraries bookshelves. Made of recycled flowerpots these elements are simultaneously fireproof and economic and accompany the visitors through the building by taking on the functions of banister, parapet, information desk and bar. They form another element in the building’s palette of brick, glass and wood: recycled materials.
Following the maximum permitted volume the Book Mountain is covered by a barn shaped glass envelope with wooden trusses resulting in a transparent almost open air library. Underneath the glass is a public space without air conditioning. In summer natural ventilation and sun screens result in a comfortable indoor climate, in winter under-floor heating and double glazing maintain a stable interior environment. The climate system is based on an innovative combination of proven technology such as underground heat and cold storage, natural ventilation and many other interventions.