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Education for a better future. Library project for refugees

Dobrawa Bies
06 of July '21

The project by students of the Krakow University of Technology has been shortlisted for the top twenty entries in the international student-led Tiny Library 2021 Architecture Competition organized by Volum Zero Competition. Yaroslav Panasevych, Alexanrda Polets and Anastasiya Skvarniuk are responsible for the design of a library and cultural center for refugees that could be built in Nizip, Turkey.

The theme of the competition was the design of a small public library - up to about 400 square meters in size, which could be built in any location in the world where the problem of access to education is still strongly present. The designed facility was to accommodate up to a hundred users and was to be equipped with both traditional reading materials, as well as e-books, audiobooks and audio-visual books. The designed space should function as a think tank for local communities, fostering interaction and social bonding, and stimulate learning.

Plac we wnętrzu

The center of the library forms a square in the form of an amphitheater

© Yaroslav Panasevych, Alexandra Polets, Anastasiya Skvarniuk

Affordability and optimal use of space to accommodate as many collections as possible in a limited area were also important considerations. The organizers wanted the proposed building to be distinctive, inviting to visitors, as well as energy-efficient and made with sustainability in mind.

The submitted works were evaluated by a jury of architects consisting of: Sourabh Gupta (Arcohm, India) Jun Sekino (Junsekino, Thailand), Realrich Sjarief (RAW, Indonesia), Jorge Arvizu (Estudio MMX, Mexico), Nils Ole Brandzteg (Atelier Oslo, Norway). They selected three works to receive grand prizes, ten honorable mentions and a list of the best projects, among which was a submission by students from the Cracow University of Technology.

w miejscowości Nizip

The authors decided to place the library in Nizip, Turkey

© Yaroslav Panasevych, Alexandra Polets, Anastasiya Skvarniuk

library for refugees

Before moving on to design, we always try to look at the bigger picture. With our library design, we would like to draw public attention to the problem of education in places where refugees reside. Currently there are more than 21 million (0.3% of the total population) refugees in the world. Most of them stay in temporary places (camps, towns) even for years. In such areas, many of the essentials for life are lacking, and access to education in particular is limited. These shortages are felt most acutely in Turkey, Uganda, Lebanon, Jordan. For this reason, we decided to place our library in the village of Nizip in the Syrian refugee camp, which is located in the southeastern part of Turkey, the project's authors say.

Biblioteka dla uchodźców,

The designed library is also a cultural center and meeting place

© Yaroslav Panasevych, Alexandra Polets, Anastasiya Skvarniuk

bibiloteka as a center of life

In most cities, the library is a central public place, and this was the case with the building designed by students of the Cracow University of Technology. The young architects sought to create a new cultural center and a central place where people of all ages could meet, not only for educational purposes. The designed library is an open building built on a circular plan, which makes it stand out from the regular grid layout of the city.

Idea projektowa

design idea of the library

© Yaroslav Panasevych, Alexandra Polets, Anastasiya Skvarniuk

The assumption of the authors was to create an intimate space inside the building, at the same time not closing to the surroundings. The central part in the form of a square - an amphitheater can be used for various cultural events. Above are three diagrams illustrating the relationship of interior and exterior space, communication and functional division.

Wnętrze biblioteki Detal konstrukcyjny

The main construction materials of the building are wood

© Yaroslav Panasevych, Alexandra Polets, Anastasiya Skvarniuk

modular system and ornaments

An important competition guideline was the ease and speed of erecting the building, for this the designers used a modular system. The construction of individual modules is relatively simple - they are formed by a wooden structure connected to a wooden truss.

Elewacja biblioteki

The ornaments on the facade refer to traditional Islamic designs

© Yaroslav Panasevych, Alexandra Polets, Anastasiya Skvarniuk

The authors wanted to refer to local architectural motifs by using ornaments found in Islamic culture, placing them on the facade panels. A special fabric membrane combined with panels in traditional patterns creates a play of light and shadows in the interiors.

Read also about other student library projects: a zero-energy library in California designed by Andrzej Kaczmarek and a municipal library in Krynica-Zdrój by Julia Ligęza.


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