University Library Cologne

  • area / size 7,405 sqft
  • Completed 2019
  • Location Cologne, Germany,
  • Andreas Schüring Architekten designed a space to bring function and form to the sophisticated University Library Cologne in Cologne, Germany.

    With the basic idea of order and freedom, the new library of the University of Applied Sciences for Public Administration in Cologne-Deutz manages to offer a high degree of adaptability and a large variety of levels of transparency on its 700 m². With its bright, open and inviting character, it is an attractive flagship of the university with around 2500 students.

    Through the interweaving of highly transparent learning cubes and light acoustic curtains that can be adjusted as required, it functions as a complex structured one-room under an apparently limitless, all-connecting light ceiling.

    The transitions between the lounge area of the entrance, the administrative counter, the communicative learning landscape in the center, the work counter along the inner courtyard and the study carrels surrounded by books on three sides are fluid and overlapping.

    Various straight and curved acoustic curtains, based on the “Café Velvet and Silk” designed by Mies van der Rohe & Lilly Reich in 1927, allow the learning landscape to be easily modulated and, if necessary, also zoned during the semester: In the beginning of the semester open spaces dominate, but during the busy examination phase the curtains offer alternating retreats for different learning groups.

    The theme of a merging grid, as found, for example, in Piet Mondrians paintings, is translated into the third dimension by shelves and the ceiling. The openly woven structure of the grid
    ceiling made of high-quality anodized aluminum, with a level above the ceiling of a network of the necessary but almost invisible house technology, picks up on this design theme and, together with the lighting, generates a wide variety of reflections.

    Within the semi-transparent glass study carrels this game of sightlines and outlooks, reflections in the glass and the gridded shelves is continued in more introverted areas. In this way, the library not only manages to realize all functional requirements in an atmospheric manner, but also, with the concept of freedom and order, to represent the teaching content of the university, which primarily trains police officers and administrators.

    Architect: Andreas Schüring Architekten
    Photography: courtesy of Andreas Schüring Architekten