with the intent to encourage children to discover the joy of reading, architecture office GAISS has completed the lively refurbishment of a library situated in riga, latvia. by thoughtfully positioning playful and engaging elements within the space, the design generates a variety of cozy reading spots for the young visitors.
all images by ansis starks
the new design by GAISS installs floor to ceiling bookshelves that cover the whole interior, making them easily accessible for the children. this structure also highlights the books themselves, making them the main visual cue of the reading room. meanwhile, six pine trunks, covered in bright red, counterpoint the regularity of the shelf grid, while supporting hanging hammocks. a feeling of spaciousness has been created while offering the possibility to easily transform the space to accommodate various activities.
since the library hosts a wide range of different events, one major aspect that the new design had to address was flexibility. the central part of the interior has been adorned with movable furniture pieces and stacks of plywood cubes that can be rearranged to accommodate any occasion. from small reading sessions, to crowded workshop, the new fluid environment can serve as needed.
the reading room is suitable for readers of all ages; everyone has the opportunity to find the perfect reading spot — at a desk, on a couch, in an alcove, in a hammock, in the playhouse, or on top of a hill. platforms of various heights and other pieces of ‘unprogrammed’ furniture are scattered throughout so that the children have the possibility to find areas and arrangements that support their needs best. the space is also accessible for kids who cannot read yet, inviting them to climb into the tiny house, or find one of the many picture books hidden in secret compartments.
the material palette for the furnishing was kept to a minimum so that the colorful book covers can step to the forefront. locally manufactured birch plywood surfaces are mixed with brightly colored elements – a shade of red that corresponds to the existing NLL (national library of latvia) wayfinding system. drawings by artist rūta briede complete the interior, confirming illustration as an integral part of the reading experience.
name: NLL children’s library
architecture office: GAISS
lead architects: marta dzene, arnita melzoba, kārlis melzobs
illustrations: rūta briede
client: latvian national library foundation
location: riga, latvia
area: 280 m2
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edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom