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Varna Library


The Open Workshop Competition 2016

Team: Neeraj Bhatia, Cesar Lopez, Jeremy Jacinth, Shawn Komlos, and Haifa Al-Gwaiz


Traditional forms of spatial representation of ‘the public’ —civic plazas, parks, monuments, etc.—were rarely employed in Bulgaria, due to a history of governance from an ‘outside rule’. If the public library and archive is an expression of the ‘public’, we must first isolate where and how this public has represented itself. In eras such as the Bulgarian National Revival or the period of Soviet occupation, a tremendous outpouring of creative production transpired, bringing together a collective in the hidden private spaces of society—kitchens, living rooms, alleys.


Our proposal mines these spatial types to set up a ‘forest’ of structure that references the notion of the individual—from the precarity of a single individual (column) to the strength of a cluster of individual (columns), to the power of carved out spaces of action (cores). This forest organizes the knowledge programs—reading, studying, playing, conversing, learning—in a fluid and soft manner through creating ‘groves’ and ‘clearings’. This field of columns—while individually weak—as a whole, gains strength and supports a series of archival slabs. This repository—containing past, present, and future mediated forms of expression—represents collective information. It is solid, monolithic, yet accessible and alive. The living archive becomes an expression of the diverse depth and collective strength of Varna’s citizens. 

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