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Dreaming amongst books

PROGRAM ︎ School Library Rehabilitation
CLIENT ︎ FONTIS for „Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt” School of Dobrovăț 
SITE ︎ sat Dobrovăț, comuna Dobrovăț, jud. Iași, România

AREA ︎ 40 mp

STATUS ︎ Concept | 2020

DESIGN CONCEPT ︎ APLUSNOIMA ︎ Alexandra Berdan, Alina Andriescu

TEXT  ︎ Alexandra Berdan, Oana Filip

I always imagined Paradise as a kind of library.

Jorge Luis Borges


Depending on their use, books have the ability to build a space for imagination and reflection that is hard to match. It represents a universe of discovery and growth that everyone can devour at their own pace. It is not said in vain that it is not by chance that a book falls into your arms. Maybe then you're ready to really figure it out.

The Federation of Non-Governmental Youth Organizations in Iași — FONTIS is the representative youth organisation in Iași. It implements the program “Iași— Capital of Youth in România 2019-2020” (ICTR), within which we will rehabilitate, in partnership, the library of the school “Ștefan cel Mare şi Sfânt” from Dobrovăț.

It is a challenge that we have accepted with confidence, that we can think about the way libraries are understood and consumed. Their impact goes far beyond the primary purpose of inventorying and storing books.

The library is an important component of the educational resources for the children from Dobrovăț School, although at present it is more of a warehouse than a space for them to benefit from per se.

school plan ︎

the library now ︎

library plan ︎

Although sufficient in size to satisfy the proposed function, the library is burdened by a series of circulations and poor relations with annexed spaces (bathrooms, storage). Thus, the current library does not function as a "destination" type of space, but as a passage space.

The space where the library will be arranged is a 40 sqm room, located on the first floor of the school building.

The project will be implemented through grants and with the help of volunteers. Out of an economy of means, we chose to focus our efforts on the actual rehabilitation of the library and we reduced the major functional interventions to a minimum: no big demolitions, radical gestures or expensive materials. The interventions on the annexes are limited to repairs and paints.
concept ︎

We managed to see the shortcomings of the space as opportunities that we can capitalize on, and the internal flows  as routes that shape the space and turn it into an experience in itself.

The areas outside them thus become the core of the project: a collage of "round" reading corners" that can be used together or separately. They are chromatically individualized and have strong personalities, and leave the space free and flexible.

The chosen chromatics have the role of increasing concentration and attention, both being essential in such a space.

Round corners are areas of leisure, to look at, to admire, to read, to discuss, to learn, to dream, to tell stories. The time spent there can take all kinds of forms and implicitly can result in ideas or activities that until then did not have a place in the life of the school "Ștefan cel Mare şi Sfânt" în Dobrovăț.

axonometric views ︎

Designed as a fixed frame, the library receives leisure areas at the window and wall and is "modeled" physically and functionally by the "round corners".

They are furnished with tables and chairs that can be moved at any time to adapt the room to other functions.

The library is located on the perimeter, in the form of a grid of shelves that "puts in order" the books.

This flexible but aesthetically controllable storage will generate a good background for any of the related activities that will take place in space.

The library becomes a story space that can't wait to be discovered both through the readings that will have a long echo in the students' lives, as well as through the activities that will bring them closer and will help them feel that they belong to the place.

The importance of reading for cognitive development and emotional health is not new, and the library we designed is a direct invitation in this regard. Through the meaningful interventions we thought, we managed to detach ourselves from the institutional quality and the fixed functions of the other spaces in the building.

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