October 10, 2012

Libraries are the architect’s Holy Grail. Symbolically, aesthetically and experientially, these temples to knowledge are wondrous places. Rem Koolhaas’ Seattle Public Library is awe-inspiring. William Alsop’s Peckham (South London) Library is a quirky piece of work. And Mario Botta’s Werner Oechslin institute in Germany is a true bijoux of late Post Modernism. Of course, Dominique Perrault’s Bibiliothèque nationale in Paris is a spectacular flop from a technical perspective (an interior sheath of wooden shutters required to protect the books installed above ground in transparent towers) but its inner atriums and research stacks are still oases of cool and calm.

So, Tobias Partners has its first library commission. Okay, so it’s not exactly a Mitterandean grand projet, but it is a project very close to my heart. The Montessori East school that my two sons, Samson, 5 and Griffin, 3 attend, has commissioned Tobias Partners to create their new learning room. On a lean budget the studio has so far pooled it’s intellect to develop initial ideas for a space that will underscore and enhance the Montessori philosophy, delight children and adults alike and, as with all our projects, push the possibilities of a traditional brief.

So, it’s back to school for me!

Author: Nick tobias