Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre
by Helen & Hard Architects

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Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Chunky wooden ribs bend around the walls and ceiling of this library in Norway by Helen & Hard Architects and integrate lighting, bookshelves and seating.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

The 27 ribs frame the outline of a double-height hall, which spans the length of the Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre and includes a mezzanine.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Glue-laminated timber beams and columns provide the structure for each rib, while air conditioning ducts are sandwiched behind the lighting fixtures and plywood casing.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

As the columns wrap around to meet the floor, hollows lined with cushions provide sheltered study spaces.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Existing buildings are located either side of the library, but natural light floods in through glazed facades that are exposed at the front and shaded behind timber slats at the back.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Stairs lead down to a basement floor containing offices, classrooms and a local history collection.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

We've published a string of libraries on Dezeen lately, including two in Washington by Adjaye Associates and one in south London.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

See all our stories about libraries »

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Photography is by Hufton + Crow.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Here's some more information from Helen & Hard Architects:


Vennesla Library and Culture house

The new library in Vennesla comprises a library, a café, meeting places and administrative areas, and links an existing community house and learning centre together.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Supporting the idea of an inviting public space, all main public functions have been gathered into one generous space allowing the structure combined with furniture and multiple spatial interfaces to be visible in the interior and from the exterior.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

An integrated passage brings the city life into and through the building. Furthermore, the brief called for the new building to be open and easily accessible from the main city square, knitting together the existing urban fabric.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

This was achieved using a large glass facade and urban loggia providing a protected outdoor seating area.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

In this project, we developed a rib concept to create useable hybrid structures that combine a timber construction with all technical devices and the interior.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

The whole library consists of 27 ribs made of prefabricated glue-laminated timber elements and CNC-cut plywood boards.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

These ribs inform the geometry of the roof, as well as the undulating orientation of the generous open space, with personal study zones nestled along the perimeter.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Each rib consists of a glue laminated timber beam and column, acoustic absorbents which contain the air conditioning ducts, bent glass panes that serve as lighting covers and signs, and integrated reading niches and shelves.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

The gradually shifting shapes of the ribs are generated through adapting to the two adjacent buildings and also through spatial quality and functional demands for the different compartments of the library.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Each end façade has been shaped according to the specific requirements of the site. At the main entrance, the rib forms the loggia which spans the width of the entire square.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Basement level plan - click above for larger image

Against south/west the building traces the natural site lines, and the building folds down towards the street according to the interior plan and height requirements.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Ground floor plan - click above for larger image

On this side, the façade is fitted with fixed vertical sunshading, This shading also gathers the building into one volume, witch clearly appears between the two neighbouing buildings.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Mezzanine plan - click above for larger image 

A main intention has also been to reduce the energy need for all three buildings through the infill concept and the use of high standard energy saving solutions in all new parts.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Click above for larger image

The library is a “low-energy” building, defined as class “A” in the Norwegian energy-use definition system.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Click above for larger image

We aimed to maximize the use of wood in the building.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Click above for larger image

In total, over 450m3 of gluelam wood have been used for the construction alone.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

All ribs, inner and outer walls, elevator shaft, slabs, and partially roof, are made in gluelam wood. All gluelam is exposed on one or both sides.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

A symbiosis of structure, technical infrastructure, furniture and interior in one architectonic element creates a strong spatial identity that meets the client’s original intent to mark the city’s cultural centre.

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Location: Vennesla, Norway
Client: Vennesla Kommune

Competition entry: 2009
Completion: 2011

Vennesla Library and Cultural Centre by Helen & Hard Architects

Budget: 66,4 mill NOK (excl. tax)
Area: 1938 m2 gross

Team Helen & Hard: Reinhard Kropf, Siv Helene Stangeland, Håkon Minnesjord Solheim, Caleb Reed, Randi Augenstein

  • nathan6100

    Stunning… utterly stunning!

  • mike the cat

    Everyday I see this building (opening my cad-software). Nice!
    http://www.archicad.de/01_neue%20Funktionen.html

  • Archil

    Very nice! In many aspects it’s a very beautiful project.

  • Pluk vd Petteflet

    It’s interesting to see new designs and not only recycled ideas.

  • Mon

    On first glance I thought it was a bowling alley.