Bressanone / Brixen City Library

    location: Piazza Duomo - Bressanone / Brixen, Italy

    program: City Library

    dates: project 2010

    data: total built area 3.000 m2 (1.300 new + 1.700 existing)

    architect: waltritsch a+u, Arch. Dimitri Waltritsch, Trieste, Italy

    team: Dimitri Waltritsch with Cecilia Morassi, Alice Liani, Cornelia Sava, Annaïs Sabiani

    The new City Library consist of the refurbishment of two historical buildings facing the main square, and of a consistent extension placed in the rear garden facing a small pedestrian alley. The Library complex has two entrances placed along a newly created path trespassing the ground floor of one of the existing building. This new path will be open during day time  and transformed into an open café, connecting the main square and the rear alley. The newly constructed building is in fact acting also as a pivotal connector between the different levels of the two existing ones. While rooms into old buildings are functionally dedicated to spatially less characterised functions like storage space, offices and simpler reading rooms, the new building hosts all programmatically relevant places, where community is gathered around. On the ground floor, behind the reception counter facing both entrances, the library continues with internet café, and with the newspaper and magazine reading rooms, which are informally fading into the garden. The façade onto the entrance courtyard and the alley is bound with a suspended coloured shelve for the presentation of the new books, while a double height atrium is available for temporary exhibitions. From this point, an especially dedicated staircase connects the entrance directly with the multifunctional presentation room on the first floor. This space is located in the middle of the building, and is taking the shape of a wide stepped podium, which continues with an outdoor staircase ending in the garden on one side, and with a larger outdoor terrace on the top floor on the other side. All other functions like children room and fiction reading room are ‘spinning’ around this central space, facing both the exterior as well as the central stepping void. The perimeter of the building is multifaceted in order to provide always-different views onto the cityscape and the magnificent context of the Alps, as well as to guarantee a smoother insertion into this small city delicate context. The built context is entering the project in many other ways, always interpreting it, but never directly copying it. The shape of the roof is entering a dialogue with the traditional pitch roof construction system, and at a larger scale, with the entire mountain scape. Moreover it is covered with the same coloured tiles covering the main buildings in the city like the Dome on the main square. The small cantilever resulting from the multifaceted shape of the buildings generates a decoration on the ceiling, which results from an interpretation of the roof ledge characterising the building tradition of the city. Two erkers or bay windows are entering in dialogue with the one placed on the second floor of the existing building. The final result is a decisively contemporary project establishing a positive dialogue with old existing context.

    Images and text © D. Waltritsch. Use only by permission.