Books as a Window to the World: Microlibrary in Bandung
Builder: Dompet Dhuafa und Stadt Bandung
Architects: Shau Architecture and Urbanism
Location: RI–40172 Jawa Barat, Taman Bima, Jl. Bima, Bandung
The existing stage has been reworked in concrete and given a new stairway that rises into the steel construction, connecting old and new. All horizontal building elements such as the floor, ceiling and stage have been kept in concrete. Slender, vertical steel elements draw attention to the more unusual features of the façade. In order to create comfortable indoor temperatures without a complicated, costly ventilation system, the architects designed a sun-sheltering façade of inexpensive, everyday materials. Their solution comprises 2,000 recycled small, white, translucent ice-cream containers of a type widely available. This thrifty shell is not only easy to work with; it can be aired and lit in natural ways. The small plastic pails are fixed between steel ribs that extend from ceiling to floor. As they are inclined to the exterior, they repel rain as well. In heavy tropical rains, sliding interior doors can be closed as needed. Behind the open and closed components of the façade, a row of numbers conveys a message from the mayor in binary code: buku adalah jendela dunia – books are the windows to the world.
With its message, the façade both expresses the function of the building and creates an atmospheric play of light inside the library. As natural »light bulbs«, the translucent containers allow warm, diffuse, milky light inside with no risk of glare. The space is flexible enough to be used for small events or seminars.
This new place will make residents proud and offer them a space to address social problems. All the activities and courses that take place here are supported and organized by Dompet Dhuafa, also known as Pocket for the Poor, and by Indonesia’s Diaspora Foundation. One of the main aims for the building is letting local residents make decisions about maintenance, thereby developing a personal connection to the community and a place of knowledge and exchange of ideas.