REX Wins Kortrijk Central Library Competition in Belgium

By Architecture Lab

from Bustler

REX and Principal in Charge Joshua Prince-Ramus have been named the winner of the BibLLLiotheek competition to build a “Library of the Future” for the city of Kortrijk, Belgium. New York-based REX partnered with landscape architects Bureau Bas Smets in entering the competition, which included both a building and master plan.
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Winning Proposal in the Kortrijk Central Library Competition by REX

Winning Proposal in the Kortrijk Central Library Competition by REX

In making its decision, the BibLLLiotheek jury noted that the REX design was “the most inspiring model,” and praised “the originality of the design approach compared to other design teams.”
The city of Kortrijk sought to create a library that would combine the functions of a traditional central library with a Life-Long Learning Center and bring in the city’s Music Center as an equal partner. The new combination was named the “LLLibrary.”

Winning Proposal in the Kortrijk Central Library Competition by REX

Winning Proposal in the Kortrijk Central Library Competition by REX

The city’s proposed site for the LLLibrary, however, was blocked from the cultural axis of the Casinoplein, a prominent Kortrijk public square, by the existing Music Center building. REX proposed shifting the LLLibrary to the Music Center site itself and enveloping portions of the existing building. This move would free up the original site (the Conservatoriumplein) for commercial development, helping offset the capital cost of the LLLibrary project.

The desire for holistic education is often undermined by dividing learning into separate institutions. Typically, media-based learning is assigned to libraries; instructor-based learning is delegated to schools, and practice-based learning is monopolized by performance venues. REX’s LLLibrary aims to heal these divisions by weaving together the cumulative human and technological intelligence of the Library, the Life-Long Learning Center and the Music Center.

Winning Proposal in the Kortrijk Central Library Competition by REX

Winning Proposal in the Kortrijk Central Library Competition by REX

REX’s design collectively groups the functions of the Library, the Life-Long Learning Center and the Music Center into an enclosed half and a free-plan half, each layered into a linear, educational “Ribbon.”

The enclosed functions — classrooms, meeting spaces, offices and auditoriums — are organized within the Ribbon’s interior. The Library’s public space and book stacks form the Ribbon’s free-plan rooftop and can be wholly reconceived as necessary….”

Check the rest of the Project at Bustler
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Tarek is the founder and chief researcher at Youngberry, a youth research and marketing firm dedicated to the region. Tarek founded interactiveME.com and previously worked as Manager at Flip Media (Interactive Agency), Bayt.com (Job Site) and Consulting House Qatar (Consulting firm). He is researcher and writer on internet & disruptive innovation, entrepreneurship, and youth culture.