The library has been built on the site that was formerly used by Lörch, a traditional family business producing schnapps and other spirits. These days, our 1800 square metres of floor space provides "food for thought".
Architects Robert Wurm and Hubert Predel, who work in Bühl, designed a square shaped building, each wall being 25 metres. Worm’s design was awarded one of two first prizes in a design competition for the ensemble-like construction of libraries and secondary schools in 1999.
Construction began in August 2000. The topping out ceremony was held on 5 April 2001. On 14 December 2001, the Media Library started operations with about 30,000 units. The goal is to have more than 50,000 media items in a few years.
Culture and knowledge on three floors
On the ground floor, after entering through a wind lock, on the left the visitor first encounters the cloak room, the lockers and the large booking desk, where borrowed items can be returned. In the market area next to the stairs, new books and music CDs are on show. Otherwise, the lowest floor is for children and young people.
On the first floor, the emphasis is on information and working without being disturbed. Here non-fiction dominates, and the majority of the 13 public computer workstations can be found here, with Opac, Internet, CD-ROM terminals and more. The striking video and DVD shelf, which extends over almost an entire wall length, shields the offices of the library staff.
The second floor is designed to be a place of leisure, for the relaxed reading of newspapers and magazines, perhaps looking out through the windows of the south-facing terrace or, in the summer, outdoors. The top-level shelves mainly hold works of fiction. Using a flexible wall system, a soundproofed space for events and exhibitions can be created, holding about 80 people. The 150 square metre reading terrace, which lends the building something of a Mediterranean touch, can also be used for events.
Discipline and freedom
The glazed roof allows in the daylight, which, as it is reflected from reflected from the white stained wood, follows its way into the inner parts of the room.
The wall windows, which appear to have a mind of their own, are intended to create a tension between discipline and freedom, in conflict with the square-shaped, monolithic structure. Architect Robert Worm called the large windows "prospect windows" as they give people passing by snapshots of the inner life of the building.
Dispensing with interior walls
The entire building is designed so that it can subsequently be adapted to a change of use. The entire interior, apart from the emergency stairwell, has no solid walls. The different levels are freely supported by columns. Ventilation is achieved by using a double floor.
Another special feature is the glass-enclosed niches. Behind the panes of glass, wooden surfaces have been set in that serve as reading desks - with a direct view of the outside.
Client: City of Buhl
Architectural Design: Wurm + Wurm Independent Architects, Bühl
Shell: Eisenbiegler, Bühl
Shelves: Institute for Library Design, Römerberg
Interior: Bühler Möbelwerkstätte Hesse
Furniture: Habich, Bühl; Vitra, Weil am Rhein; USM Modular Furniture, Bühl