Public library with indoor garden

An innovative public library with indoor garden has opened in historic Schiedam, The Netherlands, and will be open seven days a week.

22 June 2015

undefinedSchiedam Public Library

The innovative concept for the library was developed by the 'Ministry of Imagination', which consists of former librarians Rob Bruijnzeels and Joyce Sternheim and architect Jan David Hanrath. The design was created by hanratharchitect in collaboration with gideonpeele.architect.

The classicist building from 1792, designed by the Italian-Dutch architect Jan Guidici, is a wonderful example of the Louis XVI style and is characterised by a strict symmetry in plan and facades and the use of classical orders and decoration.

undefinedSchiedam Public Library

The original open courtyard was fitted with a glass roof early in the 20th century. In this atrium a spectacular interior garden is created with big trees and plants. The garden refers to the orangeries of the 19th century. In this reading garden visitors will find different library functions. There is a large reading table under a custom designed chandelier which is made up of gin glasses. This refers to the history of the building, that was built as a marketplace for cereals for the local gin industry.

In the garden, visitors find two comfortable, grass-covered, sun beds with streaming music from MuziekWeb, the music library of the Netherlands, running from two iPads. In the sunniest corner of the garden vegetables and fruits are grown, which are processed in the café.

The gallery surrounding the garden houses bookshelves, the café and a youth workshop, which fit closely in size and rhythm to the classic building. A new wooden staircase guides the visitors to the first floor, where there is room to study, to meet and where other collections are housed. To improve the accessibility of the building an elevator was added; given the tilt of the building, an amazing feat. The bookshelves on the first floor are newly developed by Jan David Hanrath and are made of paper. These bookshelves are CO2 positive: the choice of paper reduces CO2 in the atmosphere.

undefinedSchiedam Public Library
Photos courtesy hanratharchitect

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