The main library in Herning needed an extensive renovation to meet modern demands, both regarding library functions and building quality. This renovation of the existing library, which was located outside the city center, would be immense and very costly. Therefore the municipality decided to relocate the library to the very center of the city, thereby adding a lively new function to it. The municipality bought an old supermarket building from the 60’s which had been empty for years and decided to remodel it into a new modern city-center library with lots of public access and events. A competition was held and won by a team lead by engineers and consultants Ramboll a/s, with architects GPP Arkitekter a/s and Kristian H. Nielsen aps.
Our design approach was to make a “raw rebuild” of the existing supermarket. It was a heavy 60’s concrete building, but with interesting details and a nice open, straightforward, column based plan. We decided to strip the building of almost everything except the raw concrete construction and the helical main staircase, also in concrete. In the new design, the concrete structure becomes a frame for the life put into the building – the library, the café, the studies and the offices. New materials are added to the façades, mainly corten steel and large pieces of glass. This creates an expressive and open façade, inviting the public to enter the building from all sides.
The main, helical staircase inside is stripped down to its concrete core and oak wood is applied to revive it and give it warmth. The same wood is used to build a new big staircase in the center of the building, connecting the ground floor with the sublevel floor, where most of the books are kept. These two staircases become warm, refined and attractive elements inside the, raw concrete frame.
The site of the building connects two central areas of downtown Herning, the station area, and the main shopping pedestrian street. This connection was closed with the supermarket but has been revived with the new public library building. This gives a natural flow through the library and the city.
The main entrance of the library is in Østergade, which is a shopping street with historical buildings and squares. This downtown exposure is unique, and really creates a lively atmosphere around the library, in which the library building is the center.
The ground floor consists of a café area, platforms for events, exhibitions, lounges and a large area specially designed for kids and their families.
® 2018 gpp arkitekter a/s / Persondatapolitik