James Richärd, James Richärd, Kelly Bauer & Stephen J. Kennedy
Libraries are inherently tied to the transformation of informational systems which are changing at an exponential pace. From its earliest…
What was the most difficult issue about working within this building type of the most unexpected challenge that my have influenced new thought in your project?
Libraries are inherently tied to the transformation of informational systems which are changing at an exponential pace. From its earliest inception as a repository of information to its current modality as a spatial/informational interface, the library continues to evolve. As an architect the challenge is always to capture a moment in time but develop an open ended flexibility.
Did this project expand or evolve your role as an architect in any way? In general, do you feel that the role of the architect is changing on current projects?
We have always been immersive in every facet of our work, from planning to furnishings and equipment, each project is a whole. The desire for ever more understanding and reflection of the community and institution has required us to dig deeper into the historical and cultural context of projects. Embedding this into the project has us working beyond the traditional architect’s role. Some days we look up to find ourselves well outside of our box, as an artist, arborist, historian and archeologist.
How is your building possible today in a way that it may not have been before and how have trends in technology and society inspired new thought and solutions?
New materials and fabrication techniques are becoming more commonplace and accepted. The ability to cross the boundaries between digital media and the final product has created a whole new freedom. This applies to the use of digital models for fabrication, and PDF to production such as the water jet cut aluminum panels. New adhesives and fabrication processes have allowed us to look at how glazing can be both surface as well as aperture.
In the context of this project, how is your office and design process being influenced by current trends in academic curricula and incoming young architects? In turn, how are current projects and processes guiding the ongoing reformulation and development of academic curricula?
It is double edged; the same technological prowess and adeptness within the digital realm often doesn’t apply to the tactile or spatial experience in the realization of the work. The design process is not linear, it is parallel to the way ships and aircraft were traditionally navigated: The pilot would set a heading that would intersect the desired course, once they crossed over that path they would turn to intersect it again, halving the angle of the turn until it was crossed again, the process is repeated until on the final course. The design process is the same, it involves purposely deviating off course to explore the possibilities and assure that you are ultimately on the right path. Today navigation is direct to a destination via global positioning without deviation, a push of the button; the difficulty from a design perspective is the destination is created by the path. Working in the digital format the study is often overwritten and lost, never to be revisited. This is something that is often difficult for young professionals to grasp.