America Memorial Library Berlin
invited competition, honorable mention

Reading is a form of production. Similarly, architecture can be understood as an expression of productive processes. This project proposes an architectural text in which its poetic content is suggested by the making and reading of the building. While aiming towards the expression of ideas, the project employs the strategic reduction of architectural means. Jean-Paul Sartre’s expression écriture blanche and Roland Barthes’s degré zéro de l’écriture points towards an instrumental function of language in which simple and reductive means allow for multiple and open-ended interpretations. In this sense, architecture is understood as a creative action, a process that is demarked as an open text.

The primary new element of the project is a wall of books. Its placement creates a space between the existing buildings and itself which forms the new reading room of the library. The east-west orientation of the new building offers views to the historic Church zum Heiligen Kreuz and creates the spatial definition of an urban square to the north and a wall to the cemetery on the south. The wall of books provides the framework for the programmatic requirements of the library, those being the four departments organized as four tiers of shelves. Facing the public square are located the public functions, along the back the supporting infrastructure of the building.
Marc Angélil, Sarah Graham
Over Arup & Partners, Structural Engineers, LA

Start : 1990 End : 1990 Class : Architecture Class : Public Priority : 02