Open Air Library in Magdeburg, Germany

This 24 hours open air library was realised by the Leipzig-based KARO Architects in Magdeburg one of the urban areas in Eastern Germany which are characterized by abandoned industrial plants and fallow land. Central area of the settlement is almost deserted, with up to 80% of abandoned buildings, a phenomenon typical for a post-industrial Germany, people are few and mostly unemployed. Magdeburg lives more like a lifeless dimensional picture of what was once. Now it’s more like a place of urban experiment. The project has been started with a public intervention, using beer crates as building material in 2005 and today in front of the old library site is a new outdoor library, opened in June 2009.

This interesting library offers more than 20.000 books. The overall concept was to “social sculpture”: architectural project from the beginning was an open concrete involvement of the community, and the goal was to refresh the links that form the social body.

Since the opening of the new open air library in 2009,  many cultural events took place. For this it was arranged a stage used by school students nearby festivals and plays, but also for local bands concerts, public lectures or any other opportunities that gather people in one place. The library is one based on trust. There is no registration fee, no catalogs, and probably not a librarian. You can choose any book, but it would be nice to bring it back or at least replace it with another.

Photos: © Anja Schlamann.

Project Details:

Architects: KARO, Antje Heuer, Stefan Rettich, Bert Hafermalz, Leipzig Architektur+Netzwerk, Sabine Eling-Saalmann, Magdeburg
Collaborators: Christian Burkhardt, Gregor Schneider, Mandy Neuenfeld
Project Partners: Bürgerverein Salbke, Fermersleben, Westerhüsen e.V.
Structural Engineer: Michael Kurt, Leipzig
Light Conception: Jürgen Meier, architektur&medien, Leipzig
Consultant: Ruth Gierhake, Köln
Commissioner: City of Magdeburg
Funding: Ministry of infrastructure, building and city development
Building Costs: 325.000 Euro
Site: 488 square meters
Construction: Nov. 2008 – June 2009

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