We ask a lot of the public library.

We ask it to keep its contents stocked and sorted; to be warm in winter and cool in summer; to be clean and quiet, welcoming and safe. We ask it to keep up with the times while respecting the past. We ask it to be a sanctuary that is ready to receive us at a moment's notice. It gives and gives, and we take and take.

It's a beautiful relationship.

In this studio, we channeled our inner Veruca Salts, we wanted to take more, more, more from our library! More books, more movies, more music, more art, more culture, more community, more thoughts, more ideas. We wanted to find out what more we can borrow and what more it can lend us. We wanted the whole world, and we wanted it now. And while we were at it, we wanted the local library to make itself a(t) home, to take up more space in the world, to stitch itself into its surrounding fabric. We wanted it to take as much as it gives.

With more democratization of knowledge in mind, students proposed a new downtown library for the city of Ann Arbor. With more access in mind, we checked out piazzas, third places, athaneums, automats, laundromats, figures, grounds, Borges, and Nolli maps. With more connection in mind, we looked backward in order to move forward.
We cut, we filled, we copied, we pasted.

All this...and more.




The public library is a unique Institution. While libraries are defined by their ability to store media of all types, they are also expected to be places of refuge, assistance, entertainment, and opportunity. Figured Field + reconsiders the formal arrangement of the public library. Instead of being a singular building, it is a campus of connected programs, grounded within a raised plinth. Ideas of composition, connection, and adjacency were taken from the abstractionist work of Sophie Taeuber-Arp and transcribed into physical study models. These models were used as tools for composition, from which the final arrangement of program was distilled.

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