Architecture firm Helen & Hard designed the building to be an extension of the city square with a glass facade and what the architects call an “urban loggia”, a partially enclosed space that opens onto a public courtyard. The building encourages movement from the street through the space and provides open yet protected places for sitting and resting.
The major design elements are 27 prefabricated glue-laminated timber “ribs” that form the interior and exterior geometry of the building. The ribs are structure, infrastructure, and furniture all at once. Each rib is created with a timber beam and column and houses mechanical ducts, lighting, and acoustic material. Faced with CNC cut plywood boards, the curving structures also make up seating and 650 meters (2,132 feet) of shelving.
The architects wanted to maximize the use of renewable wood in the project and incorporated 450 cubic meters (15,891 cubic feet) of exposed gluelam wood in the signature ribs, inner and outer walls, elevator shaft, floor slabs, and part of the roof.
Helen & Hard integrated the design, construction, and fabrication of soaring wood into a modern space that is not cold, but warm and inviting.
Images: copyright Emile Ashley, courtesy of Helen & Hard