Klaipėda City Modern Community Centre + Library

Program: Community centre + library
Team: De Architectura + Dalia Čiupailaitė
Type: Competition
Location: Klaipėda, Lithuania
Client: Klaipėda Municipality
Area: 2500 m²
Year: 2018

This is not a project simply offering a new community centre with a library. This project offers more than 10 000 m² of a new public space in a run-down socialist housing area south of Klaipėda. A quarter of this space is offered inside a new volume which would activate new connections around housing blocks.  This project offers to look beyond a building site and imagine what the future in the socialist housing blocks could be.

We suggest being optimistic about surroundings, find the best features and amplify them. Even though mass housing areas are often monotonous, monochrome and sometimes boring they encompass enormous potential. We embrace repetition, long horizontal perspectives and toned-down colours. A new building should offer new perspectives towards a familiar environment and help to discover new qualities.

The building is shaped by three different outdoor spaces. On the north by clearing old bushes we create an entrance park, at the southwest corner along the public route we place a community event space and at the southeast side we suggest a library garden that would offer a quiet getaway with a book.  All these spaces are created on a new hard concrete surface extending around the library. This new radical landscape offers new possibilities and activities in an area dominated by scattered fields of grass.

The building is not an icon, but a red bookshelf volume inside is. It is protruding through the roof and becomes a spatial reference both inside and outside the building. Cast from red concrete, it reflects both materiality of the surrounding socialist housing area and a typical colour of buildings in Klaipėda.

Offering a multi-layered spatial experience is crucial in this type of environment. Socialist housing areas were planned in a very hard way denying any buffer zones and soft spaces. To offer a high quality of the environment we suggest creating in-between spaces around and inside the building.