FAR frohn&rojas are one of the winners of the architectural competition for the new central library of the state of Berlin at the airfield of the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin. They questioned the brief and proposed the extension of the runway as an alternative to the given site for the building.
Our proposal situates the Berlin State Library as an extension of the former runway at Tempelhof airport thus offering an alternative to the declared site. The library form mediates between iconic metaform and the human scale. By twisting a three dimensional grid from horizontal to vertical, the three key urban drivers of the site – the runway, the motorway and the former airport building – are resolved.
Seen from the park the library becomes a visual extension of the strong, 2 kilometer-long linearity of the runway: architecture becomes central perspective on an infrastructural scale. The library is organized as a sequence of stepped terraces. The perception of the volume from the freeway and S-bahn corridor is fashioned by movement and speed: architecture in the periphery of the visual field. The building unfolds as a sequence of vertically folded facets to the driver. Along the Tempelhofer Damm the building offers a view over the old terminal building and Berlin’s silhouette as it opens up with a full-size city-window in the entral information area of the library. The library is organized as a three-dimensional media matrix. The rigor of its grid enables a linear spatial gradient which structures information access: from searching to browsing. The gradient moves between the extremes of completely abstracted access, using call numbers and rfid localization at one end and gradually mutating through a wide variety of ‚reading pockets’, to the completely intuitive and visual at the other.