The pvanb extension to the EBR Library subtly illuminates the programme as a present-day glass cornice, and forcefully complements the context of existing and new construction. In splendid fashion, the Library reflects its relationship with the surroundings as well as presenting an evident coherence between interior and exterior.
Close co-operation between the client, architect and façade constructor has resulted in an exceptionally unconventional glass façade. The extension forms the second storey of a radical renovation of the WSN Building in which, in the first phase, the three lowest storeys on the north side are renovated and extended. The ground floor and the first floor are transparent, and provide space for a new – although previously designed – (study) plaza, while the second storey, with modern leaded glass, accommodates the Library. Although the new volume manifests itself as a single unit, the extension to the Library is situated between the plaza and the WSN Building, a fact that literally created a split assignment. The Library had to form an independent, present-day extension to the existing building but also dovetail with the plaza. In addition, the Library assignment required clear spatial organization and a tranquil working ambience.
The design concept for the glass façade emphasizes the connecting and separating function of the Library, situated between the plaza and the office block. The modern leaded glass structure manifests itself as a present-day cornice of the entire new extension, and is simultaneously a connecting element between the existing and the new construction. The design is characterized by a refined and convincing elaboration of the extension’s dual role. The subtle application of various sorts of glass complements the glass volume of the plaza, which is geared to encounters. But the Library extension also has its own character and distinguishes itself securely from the plaza and the WSN Building.
A nuanced geometrical pattern of transparent, sun-resistant, figured and coloured glass is attached to the façade like a cloud, so that the reflection of typical Dutch skies is abstracted in the direction of the business-like and robust appearance of the WSN Building. The cloud is fixed in place by prominent aluminium frames in various colours, and ensures a tranquil environment within the Library. The pattern of the abstracted cloud has been playfully continued in the interior, which is attuned to the structure of the existing building. Due to the limited storey height, the construction and installations have been kept in view and, just like the other layout elements, have been implemented in shining white. The light design of the interior creates a serene atmosphere but places the accent, above all, on the attractive play of light of the façade. In this way, the Library reflects its relationship with the surroundings in splendid fashion, while also manifesting a lucid coherence between the interior and the exterior.