Heidenheim City Library: New focal point and urban link
Architect: Max Dudler
Location: Helmut-Bornefeld-Str. 1–3, 89522 Heidenheim a.d. Brenz (DE)
In 2013 Max Dudler won the respective competition held by the City of Heidenheim with his design for a structure that features varied roof heights for an effect reminiscent of a small city skyline. In layout the building takes up and re-interprets the passages, squares and promenades of existing typologies in the city. Accordingly a newly-created promenade on the east side of the building connects the bus station in the north with the City Hall to the south. The slender and tapered shape of the southern side of the building is to create a sacral impression; at the same time the building's height recalls the motif of a bell tower as a counterpart to nearby St. Paul's church. The broad proportions of the building at the end facing Brenzstrasse, a busy traffic artery, create the impression of a commercial property.
The facade with its large-format windows deliberately stands out, and features light-coloured brickwork in reference to Schloss Hellenstein towering above the city. Handcrafted waterstruck brick displays variations in colour with lighter and darker nuances, while the irregular brickwork bond provides a relief-like structured texture to vibrant effect. In the ground floor area of the end faces, perforated masonry intensifies the building's deliberately sculptural, monolithic character and additionally abates the noise coming from Brenzstrasse.
A full-height foyer provides access to the various parts of the building with their differing functions. The non-book section is on the first floor and the library itself on the second storey, where a so-called promenade 108 metres long connects all high reading rooms with lower cabinets in a striking spatial continuum. In good weather, visitors can read and linger on reading terraces.
Since its opening in November 2017, the library has become a magnet and new gathering space for the city of Heidenheim.