The municipal library of the future
The renovated municipal library in Waldshut is proving a winner – not just with its brand new digital facilities, but also thanks to its colourful design, which provides the perfect setting for its innovative communal reading space concept.
The city of Waldshut-Tiengen in the south-west of Baden-Württemberg has transformed a listed former granary building, the Kornhaus, into a bright, open and inviting feel-good space for book-lovers of all ages to come and read or relax. Around 4.7 million euros have been invested in renovating and redesigning this municipal library and introducing a new concept to make it fit for the future.
For example, it has become the first public library in the state of Baden-Württemberg to adopt the “Flexi-Bib” system, with intelligent bookshelves that can detect which books have been returned. Members can also scan up to ten books to borrow at a time by themselves.
A communal reading space on two levels
Spread over two floors, the library offers a mix of quiet areas with desks for working, designated reading corners and alcoves – some of which are integrated into the shelves themselves – and spaces designed for interaction through communal games and events. Audiobook stations and a café corner add the finishing touches.
Barrier-free access to all floors of the Kornhaus building is also guaranteed thanks to a lift connected to the new external staircase. One particularly striking feature is the ten-metre-high “Kornhaus” lettering on the exposed concrete façade, which stands out against the soft pink of the wall.
Inside, the library has been transformed into a kind of communal reading space, where visitors like to come and spend time as if they were in a large living room. The bookshelves, some of which stretch from floor to ceiling, are now set against the walls rather than positioned in the middle of the room, and the books are casually distributed around them.
The colourful design starts right from the foyer, which features an information desk in petrol blue. The wide seating steps and blood-red stairs provide a vibrant contrast to this. Troldtekt acoustic panels in a special shade of red have also been integrated here, hanging over on the staircase like a canopy and enclosing the space. The same red can also be found on various seats, in some reading alcoves and in the cosy reading hub which offers seating and lounging facilities in the children’s area. Bright turquoise and green on the walls and natural wood furniture create a balanced and calming effect.
The harmonious overall design is rounded off by acoustic panels in natural wood with integrated lighting, which are installed in the children’s and common areas and are a perfect match for the light wood finish of the floors.