Two Ballerina’s Library
There are two ballerinas dancing with Mies.
Alongside prisms another one rests, affirming to respect a logic so crystalline that the only possibility is to reinstate it. A great hollowed structural skin is risen, never blocking the view. It is structured by trellises that span three floors and crowned by four inverted beams, two of which become the four support points that hold up the project.
Within it, a serene space dances with the essentials: structure and function; drawing and construction; steel and wood; light and wind; water and stone. Amidst it, two corten steel ballerina-pillars spiral downwards. First, they define, hang, and prevent spin of two internal volumes. Afterwards, they gently meet the stone-like piazza, from where water surfaces like a jewel.
This last space is the access point to the library that unfolds above, and an extension to the previously existing paths. Impossible to be closed by doors, it is, above all, a public space. Together with its structural skin it becomes shadow, filtered illumination and cross-ventilation against the summer’s heat, and a great shelter against the Windy City’s rigorous winter.
This protector’s vocation extends towards its collections. The items hosted in the building are protected by environmentally controlled, glass sealed quasi-cubes.
One of these is the public library: noisier, more quotidian, and with an auditorium where one can see the campus from above, alluding to the Greeks that spoke from their amphitheaters whilst seeing the city. In the other resides Mies’ legacy. In it, a triple oculus allows light to suggest that therein lies something more than material. A secular temple of knowledge.
Unraveling itself through ramps, the space is an act of kindness towards those who can’t conquer stairs with ease. But it is also an act of care towards the transport of collection. From the technical parking spots through to the last floors, items can be carried by carts. That is, without the fear of sudden steps or of the constricting space of elevators. The circulations configure a long ribbon that swirls along the central pillars.
Between two crystals in the sky two ballerinas dance, as if in eternal courtship with a master.
Subtitles and indications:
3rd Floor Plan (+5.70 m)
1- Mies Collection book/item storage 2-research stations 3-administration 4-copy room 5-bathroom 6-Auditorium
7- open collection book/item storage 8-reading/study stations
2nd Floor Plan (+3.20 m)
1- Mies Collection book 2-item storage stations 3-administration 4-copy room 5-bathroom 7- open collection book/item storage
8- reading/study stations
1st Floor Plan (+0.70 m)
9- common area/circulation ring
Courtyard/Piazza Floor Plan (-3.50 m)
Transversal relation with surroundings
Longitudinal relation with surroundings
WINTER NIGHT VIEW
OPEN LIBRARY VIEW
structure steel + concrete
25k items in the Complete Mies Collection
15 research stations
60k books open collection
200 reading/study stations
61 seat auditorium