As we are reaching the end of the first decade of the 21 century, we are witnessing the consequences of human domination on the globe. Global warming, food crisis and collapse of unhealthy economical structures are some examples. At the same time, estimated 500 species of living creatures vanish Slowly, people are waking up to the reality.
With this project we want to offer information of the biodiversity on this planet. If one looks at the nature from outside, one cannot see and understand its complex beauty and vital balance. We need to get back on the grass-root level of understanding the world. We need to get our hands dirty and our mind clean. To know it more is to love it more is to preserve it more, or at least destroy it less.
A wooden free-standing tower structure is placed in the National Art Library staircase hall corner, lining with the existing pillars. The visitor is invited to choose an alternative, literature-filled promenade through the stairwell-space. One is able to choose an interesting book and withdraw to sit and read it in a peaceful one-person reading space in the core of the tower. This escape from the physical space of the museum into the mental space of literature is our answer to the task of creating a retreat.
The reading light installed in the structure, will shine outwards through the structure, casting scattered light on the surrounding gallery walls, inviting readers like night lantern lures moths.
The books are second-hand-recycled-would be otherwise destroyed, and have been collected from publishers, libraries and universities during 2009 and 2010.
Outside, only white paper is shown of the books, creating a unified minimal wall surface together with the bright wooden surface of the tower. This uniform representation of spatial elements in the tower is meant to emphasize the familiarity of materials in the books and the construction. Interior is on the other hand a contrasting collage of colors, titles and themes. To learn of the contents of the books, one has to enter the tower.
Project Name: ARK BookTower
Location: Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Englang, United Kingdom
Height: 7.75 m (3 floors)
Materials: Wooden, 16 m3
Books: 6000 titles approx.
Footprint Area: 9.9 m2 (3.15 m x 3.15 m)
Project Year: 2010
Client / Owner / Developer: Victoria & Albert Museum
Designer: Rintala Eggertsson Architects
Project Team: Sami Rintala, Dagur Eggertsson, Vibeke Jenssen
Building Team: Mats Odin Rustøy, Dagur Eggertsson, Sami Rintala, Pasi Aalto, Jon Gunnar Akason, Fabricio Fernandes, Harriet Brisley, Mathew Donnachie, Darius Wilson
Curator: Abraham Thomas
Project Administration: Elizabeth Capon
Sponsors: UPM Kymmene (Wood Materials), Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Norsk Form (Travels), Luxo (Lighting), Norwegian Embassy in London (Books), Dominic Winter Book Auctions (Books), Richard Booth’s Bookshop (Books), Vintage Books (Books)
Technical Support: Dr. Techn Kristoffer Apeland
Additional Help: Vibeke Jenssen, Kaori Watanabe, Naofumi Namba, Ruby Wilson, Molly Odhiambo, Laura Shouthall, Erland Flaterud, Anne Ulseth
Presentation Model: Per Sølvsberg
Text Description: © Courtesy of Rintala Eggertsson Architects
Images: © Pasi Aalto