The New Library, Almere

De Nieuwe Bibliotheek, Almere

Location: Almere, Netherlands.
Completion: 2010
Client: City council Almere, Blauwhoed, MAB
Program: Public library, retail, housing, graduate school, law court
Sector: new architecture
Size: 20.000 m2
Architect: Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten BV.
Project architect: Barry van Waveren (reA)
Partners: Concrete, Reynoud Homan, Thonik
Image credits: Jeroen Musch o.a.

Almere is one of the new cities in the Netherlands, created from 1970 onwards on the new land Flevopolder. The city has been growing steadily and plans were made to enlarge the city centre, with much retail, a new theatre and a new library. The masterplan was drawn up by OMA and has as the most special feature a raised landscape. The public area is a car free meandering network of alleys on top of an underworld with parking garages and bus lanes.

The New Library is one of the cornerstones, situated direct next to the town hall. The entrance to the library is at the head connected to the central square. Visitors are invited up into the entrance hall where they can have an overview of what the library offers. They start on a 400 metres tour that takes them along all departments and through the complete building up to the fourth floor. A continuous glass façade accompanies the route and offers the spaces their public character. People who know what they are looking for, can take short cuts with the escalators. The floorplans, resembling a pretzel, have loops, wrapped around atriums and the central patio garden.

The library is a giant sculpture that envelopes not only the library itself but also the shops underneath, the housing on top and even a law court, hiding in one of the loops.