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No longer silent, fusty and reserved for solitary study, libraries are now bright and buzzing spaces where people can also engage with their local community and new technologies. And the seven winners of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2016 Library Building Awards are a perfect showcase of this. Comprised of new and renovated buildings from both small towns and major cities, the winners were chosen by a panel of industry professionals. What unites them, aside from being striking buildings, is how they demonstrate the powerful effect that architecture, though elements like space, light, geometry and materials, can have on our mood.
The celebrated projects include Renton public library in Washington, an ethereal glass and raw aluminium building straddling the banks of the Cedar river; and the Lawrence public library in Kansas, a geometric structure of harsh lines clad in terracotta panels
It may seem obvious, but even the most beautiful building is largely useless if it doesn’t fulfil its function. What use are stunning aesthetics if a person inside is stifled by heat from a badly placed window, or unable to arrange furniture neatly inside?
“Buildings and urban spaces should be designed first and foremost around their occupants,” says Dr Sergio Altomonte, architect and associate professor in the department of architecture and built environment at the Nottingham university. “The importance of architecture as a trigger to physical, physiological and psychological wellbeing is nowadays becoming a topic of significant relevance.” […]