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Open Air Library Wins European Prize for Public Space

March 29, 2010

The biennial competition for the European Prize for Urban Public Space has awarded KARO Architecten‘s Open Air Library in Magdeburg, East Germany (together with Snohetta’s Opera House). With a strong focus on reuse, historical context, community, and open-source learning, we think it’s well-deserved. Re-using the facade of the old city of Hamm’s demolished Horten warehouse and using over 1000 beer crates as building material, the German architects conceived this architectural “bookmark” as an open-access repository and lending facility for books, BookCrossing-style.

What began in 2005 as a public intervention in an abandoned post-industrial center with up to 80% vacancy, soon became a community-driven informal library with over 20,000 books, in addition to a grassy plaza with a reading cafe and a stage for school plays and other cultural events. Congrats to KARO!

plan 03

© Anja Schlamann

© Anja Schlamann

Photographs by Anja Schlamann. More images and plans at Archdaily.

The European Prize for Urban Public Space is a biennial competition organized by six European institutions: London’s Architecture Foundation, Barcelona’s CCCB, Paris’ Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, Rotterdam’s Nederlands Architectuurinstituut (NAi), Vienna’s Architekturzentrum Wien (Az W), and Helsinki’s Museum of Finish Architecture (MFA) with the aim to recognize and encourage the recovery projects and defense of public space in our cities. The award, created in 2000, celebrates its sixth edition this year, 2010.

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